Steph tak­ing tai chi to court

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By SUN XIAOCHEN

Stephen Curry has promised to bring some ori­en­tal flare to the bas­ket­ball court af­ter pick­ing up some tai chi moves dur­ing the Hangzhou leg of his re­cent China tour.

“It works on my bal­ance and fo­cus,” the Golden State War­riors ace en­thused about the tra­di­tional Chi­nese martial art. “The trainer makes it look so easy but it’s pretty hard even though we were mov­ing very slow.

“Def­i­nitely I have to bring that back to my pregame rou­tine, so I got some more ammo to work with,” added the reign­ing NBA cham­pion, who was tu­tored by Chi­nese prac­ti­tioner Qiao Di on Tues­day.

Dur­ing the 30-minute ses­sion, Curry, to­gether with his wife, Aye­sha Alexan­der, and brother Seth Curry picked up five iconic tai chi ma­neu­vers, re­vealed Qiao, vice-chair­man of Hangzhou Bin­jiang Martial Arts As­so­ci­a­tion.

“He showed a lot of gen­uine in­ter­est in the cul­ture. He paid at­ten­tion to my ex­pla­na­tion and is a quick learner with great body co­or­di­na­tion,” Qiao said.

The tai chi clinic was among a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties Curry’s spon­sor Un­der Ar­mour or­ga­nized to im­merse the 29-year-old in Chi­nese cul­ture and al­low him to en­gage with his fans dur­ing his third an­nual visit here.

Dur­ing his ear­lier Bei­jing stop, the bas­ket­ball su­per­star played ping pong with Chi­nese ta­ble ten­nis Olympic cham­pion Ding Ning and was taught taek­wondo kicks by for­mer na­tional team ath­lete Zhang Lanxin at the land­mark Im­pe­rial An­ces­tral Tem­ple, next to the For­bid­den City.

Curry spiced up his trip in Chengdu, the cap­i­tal of Sichuan prov­ince, when he sa­vored the de­lights of a hot­pot restau­rant. How­ever, the renowned facechang­ing stunts of Sichuan opera dur­ing the meal proved a big­ger shock to the sys­tem for the Amer­i­can.

Per­form­ers change masks in the blink of an eye at the opera, a trick that seemed to freak out Curry, judg­ing by a video posted on one of his so­cial-me­dia ac­counts.

“I was scared be­cause I don’t know how it’s done. But it was pretty cool,” said Curry, who also hosted a youth bas­ket­ball clinic and par­tic­i­pated in a pick-up game at Sichuan Uni­ver­sity.

“It’s re­ally been an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me and my fam­ily. We try to get more im­mersed in the cul­ture here and try dif­fer­ent things like go­ing to have a hot­pot meal.

“Do­ing things like that where you can un­der­stand the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the cities. They are quick trips but we hope to do a bet­ter job of re­ally un­der­stand­ing Chi­nese cul­ture.”

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