Yinon Raviv
9 min readApr 26, 2021


What Does Trevor Lawrence Already Have In Common With Steph Curry?

Seerat Sohi of Yahoo Sports recently wrote about Luka Doncic’s game winning shot against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 12, 2021. It’s hard to do justice for such an unbelievable shot. If you haven’t seen the clip, take the eleven seconds of your life to watch it. It defies words.

And yet Sohi managed to capture the magic. With a wordsmith’s touch that is just as impressive as Doncic’s floater and Steph’s three-point shot, she swishes every shot with this stunning paragraph:

“A sport like basketball demands that we keep our sense of what’s possible fluid. So much of the fun is in testing out how far perfect geometric control of the body in relation to the ball can go. Kids on blacktops across the world play like Curry and Doncic, smiling through increasingly ridiculous shots, smiling sometimes because of their own silly audacity, other times because the shot actually goes in. Then it goes in again. And again. And then they take another step away from the hoop, trying to feel out just how deep their bag goes, wondering if its depth is endless.” Seerat Sohi in Yahoo Sports.

After I read that, I was immediately reminded of something Trevor Lawrence said in his interview with Sports Illustrated’s Mike Rosenberg:

“It’s hard to explain that because I want people to know that I’m passionate about what I do and it’s really important to me, but . . . I don’t have this huge chip on my shoulder, that everyone’s out to get me and I’m trying to prove everybody wrong,” he says. “I just don’t have that. I can’t manufacture that. I don’t want to.” Trevor Lawrence in conversation with Mike Rosenberg for Sports Illustrated.

Rosenberg goes on to explore Lawrence’s faith, on how Lawrence sees his athletic gifts as part of God’s plan. He connects his sport to a higher purpose, something greater than himself. To somebody like Lawrence, it feels like “trying to feel just how deep their bag goes” is a way to honor his faith, as finding those endless depths being tantamount to connecting with the infinite.

When I read that, I thought about Stephen Curry.

The more you learn about Curry — from articles, videos, and interviews — the more you get a sense of the type of person he is. I may never meet the man, but he’s open enough to feel like you can start to see past the surfaces. In particular, he has an episode in his Facebook Watch video series “Stephen versus The Game” entirely dedicated to faith, and he said something that stuck out to me.

“My faith is about the personal relationship, more so than following a certain religious tradition or practice. [Faith should] challenge you to make sure that you are feeding your spirit with the right things versus what the world is throwing at us.” Curry in conversation with Professor Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at University of Southern California.

By making it clear that his faith is not just ideological but also deeply spiritual, Curry is expressing that faith, for him, is not merely one separate part of his self but rather, a thread connecting all of his individual parts into his whole self. All the things we see externally about him — Curry the basketball player, the business man, the family man — are internally rooted in his faith. All the things that end in outcomes — another statistical accomplishment, another championship ring, or another extrinsic reward — began from a place of seeing every practice, work-out, and film session as a blessing rather than a burden.

While we’re quite a few months from seeing Trevor Lawrence take the field, we’re currently witnessing the stretch run of a very dramatic chapter in Curry’s story. With the final fifteen or so games looming, his team has stumbled upon the exact line-up combinations that highlight his abilities. James Wiseman’s unfortunate injury has forced Steve Kerr’s hand to commit to playing Juan Toscano-Anderson (which lead to a 117 offensive rating when playing with Curry and Green) and more Draymond Green in an optimized point center role.

This veteran-heavy, highly-experienced small-ball unit has led to much better ball movement and screening, opening up the floor for Curry. On a Monday night in Philadelphia, Curry went into Joel Embiid’s house and beat his team while the home crowd showered Curry with “M-V-P” chants. He’s been averaging over 40 points over the last ten games while shooting 55 percent from 3, recently overtaking Bradley Beal in the race for the scoring title. He’s hitting his stride at the perfect moment: he’s getting hotter as the playoffs get closer.

Any postseason match-up, from the Warriors perspective, begins and ends with how deep Curry can reach in his bag. If Curry wants to shape the narrative of his career with his own two hands, he’ll need to show us something neither we nor his teammates nor his opponents nor his own damn self has ever seen before on the basketball court.

The more I think about it, the more my brain starts spinning up questions.

How? How can someone be so driven when the odds are so stacked against you? How do you not get overwhelmed and depressed by it all?

If Steph was the type of player that was always fighting to prove something, what is there to prove when your first running mate is on his second “career-threatening” injury, your second running mate hasn’t shot above 31 percent since five years ago, and your other foundational piece is so far from a finished product that he’s literally still just the foundation?

Live look at James Wiseman. It’ll be a beautiful house, but like most big construction projects, there’s delays. Source.

The answers to those questions can be found in Trevor Lawrence’s tweets. He felt like had to clarify after the Sports Illustrated piece led to some backlash, questioning whether had the “right stuff” to truly be great. To paraphrase his response:

“It seems as if people are misreading my sentiment…I am internally motivated — I love football as much or more than anyone… I am driven to be the best I can be, and to maximize my potential. And to WIN. I am a firm believer in the fact that there is a plan for my life and I’m called to be the best I can be at whatever I am doing.” Trevor Lawrence on Twitter.

The last verb in that statement is “called”. Lawrence isn’t talking about an internal motivation to get him to the place where he can win, play well, and prove his greatness (whatever that may mean). He’s talking about a calling, an omnipresently-laid plan from a higher power, a specific purpose and reason to get up in the morning and grind.

Trevor Lawrence only plays the actual game one day of the (at most) twenty weeks of the year. We only see one seventh of a little over a third of the entire year. Every other day of his life, he has to decide to work for the sake of working. Something deep inside him pushes him to every practice, every work-out, and every film session even on the days that he’s tired, he’s stressed, or he’s just not feeling it.

For some legendary players — Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, most notoriously — that something is a domination instinct. I think of it as a deep sense of rage at doubters and enemies, real and imaginary, channeled so they could force themselves to grow into their self-identity as the “alpha of the other alphas”.

Many athletes now will talk about how Jordan and Bryant inspired their approaches — Jayson Tatum comes to mind — and it can feel like that particular framework is the path to success.

But when you take Jordan, Bryant, Curry, and Lawrence and look at their day-to-day lifestyles while they were/are playing, framing them in black-and-white terms of input and outputs… there’s very little difference. You see that they never miss a day and never give anything less than 100%. Anybody that reaches that level of success has put more work in their craft than you or I can ever imagine.

Already, there’s very little about Stephen Curry or Trevor Lawrence’s life that I can relate to on a personal level. But even moreso than their insane training regimens, I really can’t relate to them on the topic of religious faith. I don’t know if I connect to the idea of God or a higher power. However, I don’t need to be a believer in order to draw inspiration from what Sohi describes as “reaching into the endless bag and wondering how deep it can go”.

I mean, what’s more beautiful than seeing human beings create entire new worlds with their creativity, their abilities, and their imaginations? That’s what it feels like when you see Steph check into a game late in the 4th quarter, when the team is down 10, and then shifting reality with his own two hands and two feet and two eyes, crossing over the limits of what’s possible and bringing all of us along into the world where the Warriors actually finish the game up 5, victory in hand.

Before he shoots it, it feels like anything is possible, and after he makes it, it feels like everything will happen — more shots, more buckets, another Warriors victory, another set of highlights and gorgeously written game recaps and dumbfounded podcasters and frustrated opponents.

Steph Curry knows all that, and yet the only way for him to get there is to know none of that. Not since he missed that shot.

If you’re a Warriors fan, you know the shot. 2016, game 7, Kevin Love guarding Curry at the end of the game. The shot that could have saved the infamous 3–1 collapse.

A couple years ago, Jackie McMullan wrote one of my favorite articles on ESPN.com. In the opening salvo, she puts the reader in the eyes of Steph Curry in that infamous moment:

“The shot clock whittled down to four seconds and Curry, capitulating to the urgency, hoisted a 3 that bounced off the rim and out.

“I’m like, ‘I just need a little space’ — and that’s where I started to rush,” Curry says now. “I look back and think I could have easily gone around [Love] and gotten a 2, and we could have. gotten a stop, and then I could come back down and hit another shot, and we win another championship, instead of me going for the hero shot, which I felt like I could make.

“That was a shot where I was not under control. And it cost us a championship….. [I remember that I was thinking to myself] ‘Don’t ever make the mistake of rushing like that again,’” he says.

Source: Getty Images/USA Today

The article later goes on to talk about what Curry started doing to make sure he never makes the same mistake again: visualization, meditation, and deep breathing practices. David Fleming wrote in ESPN that Curry’s personal trainer would “place sandbag weights below [Curry’s] rib cage in order to overload, and train [his] diaphragm” at the end of his routine work-outs. Nowadays, he can reportedly lower his heart rate to below 80 BPM during a time-out.

So the next time we see him make over ten three-pointers in a game, it’s important to remember that such a sustained state of flow doesn’t just come by itself. Muscle memory requires mental strength, and it takes active, intentional, and extremely grueling work to get to the point where the games feel like they’re easier than the practice. We spectators see the outcomes, but the “outcomes” — the actual games themselves — make up a very small portion of these athletes’ lives. Somehow, someway, they all managed to fall in love with the process.

Everybody on this planet has a different, personalized answer to that challenge, in whatever they do in their lives. For many years, one main model for that was the Jordan-esque rage, that intense willpower borne out of doubt and the need to prove everyone wrong. When that’s all you know, it feels wrong to think that an elite, high-performing individual can approach their lives with so much lightness and perspective and groundedness.

And yet, alternative mental models have emerged.

Curry, Lawrence, and Doncic are showing that a sense of play does not have to be at odds with a sense of purpose. That you can approach your work with your whole self rather than solely relying on your work to fill in the incomplete, unfinished sections of your soul. That curiosity and a sense of creative fulfillment is just as valid and potent of a motivating force in your life as anything else.

And the outcomes? The outcomes will take care of themselves. The victories will come, or they may not. The shots will go in, until they don’t. All that matters is that you’ve honored your commitment to your own potential. You might need faith, spirituality, sheer power of will, or the delight of reaching into your own endless bag… but that’s on you to figure out.