Someday there will be a fantastic documentary about Steph Curry—the greatest shooter in NBA history and a four-time champion. Until then, we must settle for Underrated, a film so underwhelming that it leaves you unsatisfied.
Underrated feels like a movie made specifically for Curry’s family, friends, and fans. That’s not surprising. It was created by Curry’s Unanimous Media company in conjunction with A24 and director Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media company. Curry wanted a hands-on approach regarding how he wanted his story told. As more athletes get into the content business, more of them will be following this path.
Directed by Peter Nicks, this Apple TV+ release focuses mostly on Curry’s college career at Davidson. He went from probably the most under-recruited high school basketball player of all-time to one of the most influential players of his generation. It’s a remarkable tale for many reasons. The son of a former NBA player—Dell Curry—receiving only one Division I scholarship offer because many thought he was too small and too slight remains hard to fathom.
But this is a tale many of us already know, especially for those who watched Davidson’s improbable march through the 2008 NCAA tournament where it almost beat eventual champion Kansas in the Elite Eight. Underrated doesn’t offer much new here. While it is fun to relive the highlights, the documentary falls woefully short on fresh anecdotes. The interviews with his Davidson teammates and coaches are decent but don’t provide insight into Curry beyond the basketball player.
The most fun of the entire film is seeing footage of Curry’s comical attempt at rapping during his junior year. Underrated could have used more moments like that one because it gives us a peek into what Curry is really like. Or at least who he was during his formative years.
Curry is now Steph Curry Inc. He’s his own corporation. He has built a business by being seen as an affable champion, a business that will likely sustain long after his playing career is over. One of the fundamental problems you can run into when you produce your own documentary is that it can be too safe. In Underrated, Curry comes off as likable but not interesting. Of course, Curry probably is extremely interesting but in his zeal to present his version of the truth, this film is sanitized.
The Curry we see today on the court is cocky, but we see very little evidence of this in Underrated. Instead, it’s more of a carefully crafted image. We see Curry the underdog, Curry the family man, and Curry the college graduate. That last part must have been particularly important to him since it’s an underlying theme throughout. The 35-year-old completed his sociology degree in 2022.
Many athletes want to replicate The Last Dance. But at least Michael Jordan realized that he needed to talk unfiltered and have others do the same for the film to resonate with the public. Jordan also was comfortable doing this because he hasn’t dribbled professionally in decades. Curry is still playing so that’s likely the reason he wasn’t as frank as we would have liked for Underrated.
Since the focus of Underrated is on Curry’s younger days, the documentary doesn’t show a lot from his pro career. You get Golden State Warriors highlights but nothing in-depth. And no interviews with his NBA teammates, which is a curious decision. This movie needed Draymond Green, who would have injected some spark.
Underrated is not a bad sports documentary. For many, it will be sufficient. However, it is a missed opportunity. There are so many better angles that could have been explored: Curry’s impact on the NBA’s 3-point revolution, Curry’s first few years in the league when ankle injuries threatened to derail his career, Curry’s first title, Curry’s 73-win team that was upset by LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, Curry’s superteam that added Kevin Durant, and Curry’s fourth championship won last year.
Guess we’ll have to wait for the next Curry documentary for those stories to be told.