How a closely guarded Michael Jordan secret unleashed Steph Curry’s full potential

Stephen Curry made 116 more three-pointers last year than he did in the previous season, and a unique training method pioneered by Michael Jordan may be part of the reason.

Back in the 1980s, during Jordan’s prime, the NBA had remote-controlled flash bulbs installed at various points in the arena to help photographers get some of their most iconic shots. The problem with that, of course, was the fact that players would be hit with those flashes in the eyes as they attempted to make the most important plays of the game.

In a piece from ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, the secret training method to deal with the problem was revealed: Jordan wanted to train with strobe lights, and his personal trainer, Tim Grover, found a way to make it happen — first with DJ equipment in the gym, and later with a specially outfitted pair of glasses.

Jordan used them a handful of times. It was a tool in the program, not the entire program. But Jordan noticed the lights helped in other ways. The game seemed to slow down. He picked up on visual cues he wasn’t seeing before. For reasons he couldn’t quite explain, it was making him better, even beyond tolerating photographer’s flashes.

That unintended consequence led scientific researchers to conclude that there indeed were neurological benefits to this type of training — which was used by Curry as part of his regimen before winning a unanimous MVP award last season.


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Kawhi Leonard has used it, too, and he’s putting up MVP numbers this season. It seems as though Jordan’s relentless approach to greatness is just one more thing that today’s players have to thank him for as they reach even more incredible heights.