LOS ANGELES — Stephen Curry lets his play do the talking during the NBA season. Give him a mic as host of The ESPYS and some famous folks might finally be hearing trash talk from one of the league’s best-liked players.
Just how worried should the audience be on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time) for his opening monologue at the show honoring the past year’s top athletes and moments in sports?
“Maybe not as nervous as if Draymond was hosting, but still nervous,” Curry said, referring to his always chattering Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green. “Now I have the mic.”
Fresh off the Warriors’ victory over Boston in the NBA Finals, Curry is presiding over the show airing live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
The 30th annual ESPYS are back to full capacity for the first time in three years, moving from downtown Los Angeles to the home of the Academy Awards. The show went virtual in 2020 and held a scaled-down version last year in New York because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to hosting, Curry is nominated for three individual trophies: best men’s athlete, best record-breaking performance and best NBA player. The Warriors are competing for best team.
Curry is used to working in front of live audiences at games, but entertaining a well-dressed crowd of peers is daunting to the four-time NBA champion and recently crowned finals MVP.
“I’m more nervous already just thinking about that vibe,” he said by phone recently. “Basketball is reactionary and I spend every waking hour thinking about it, practicing and preparing. I’ll do that same preparation for this, but it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.”
Curry describes his sense of humor as being “all over the place.” He mentions comedians Dave Chapelle and Kevin Hart, as well as the Emmy Award-winning series “Schitt’s Creek,” among his favorites.
“I’ll try to channel all of them,” he said.
Don’t be surprised if Curry’s kids, teammates or other athletes make cameos in the show’s comedy bits.
Outside of basketball, Curry said he’s “a golf junkie, nerd, fanatic.”
“I’ve talked to Tiger Woods on the phone four or five times but I’ve actually never met him in person. The dream would be to meet him at The ESPYS,” he said.
Taking it further, Curry imagines Woods “receives the best golfer (award) and the next morning we go play golf. That’s the dream scenario.”
When he’s not making a living playing basketball or relaxing by hitting the links, Curry is following other teams, especially the Boston Red Sox and Carolina Panthers.
“If you come to my house and my kids don’t have control of the remote, then usually sports of any kind is on,” he said. “I watched the Stanley Cup Finals and didn’t really know anything about it, but I still watched it. I don’t discriminate between any of it. If it’s sports, I’m watching.”
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