Credit: AP

Stephen Curry is one of the biggest stars in the NBA and he’s become one of the best players in the league in recent years thanks to his talents as a shooter and his leadership. Curry has been a key piece for the Warriors’ success in the past couple of years.

He can destroy any rival from deep, being one of the coldest-blooded players in the NBA. Curry has mastered his art and he’s taken things to the next level to remain one of the best players in the association. In a recent article, David Fleming of ESPN explained that Curry can control his heart rate during short breaks. That can happen during practice and even in the middle of games, which is extremely impressive to know.

Curry’s second wind comes from his ability to rapidly lower his heart rate during short breaks, even in the middle of games. It’s something he trains his body to do. Once he’s out of breath at the end of most workouts, Curry lies on his back, and Payne, his trainer, places sandbag weights below his rib cage in order to overload, and train, Curry’s diaphragm.

Through conditioning and breathing techniques like this, Curry can often coax his heart rate below 80 during one 90-second timeout. But here, when he goes flat-footed, straightens his back and flops his hands at his side as if to signal, I’m done, I give up, it’s mostly a decoy. And it works. Because at this point, after chasing Curry nonstop all over the court, most defenders are begging for even a hint at a break. Do you ever stop? They often whisper to Curry. It’s the best compliment he can get from an opponent, Curry says, even better than praise for his shooting. You’re wearing me out. Stand still for a f—ing second.

The regime for Steph is incredibly hard, as he’s always trying to take his game to the next level. His conditioning is remarkable and he owes that to Brandon Payne, who specializes in neurocognitive efficiency.

For Curry, a typical offseason workout looks something like this: Sporting a hilarious golfer’s tan and usually some kind of colorful, prototype Under Armour sneaker, Curry flies through a nearly impossible, full-court version of the conventional star shooting drill. Designed by Payne, it consists of 10 shots — from the corner, baseline and wing — with full-court 94-foot sprints in between. And it must be done with a minimum 80% accuracy and in under 56 seconds or the drill repeats. Essentially it’s the same drill run in nearly every basketball practice on earth, turbocharged to an absurd degree for Curry, whose year-round conditioning goal is to always be ready to take the floor within two weeks.

Last offseason, when Curry did this workout at Stanford, several Division I players in attendance begged to join in on Payne’s ultimate scoring-without-the-ball drill — they all either collapsed from exhaustion or gave up halfway through. That’s exactly what Payne expects, though, since the drill is designed specifically to challenge Curry’s remarkable conditioning and unique skill set in order to prepare him for challenges like the one against Portland.

Curry has gotten better in his game every season. His handles, his shooting skills, his off-ball game have improved in the past couple of years and this man isn’t thinking about stopping. This season presents a big challenge for Curry as the Golden State Warriors aren’t seen as a contender team around the league. He is having a terrific campaign with the Dubs and as long as he keeps playing great basketball, Golden State will have a chance to compete.