This summer, NBA stars from Dame and J.R. to Kyrie and Klay took trips to Asia to market shoes, promote wine through dance, and break Guinness world records. We took stock of the trips that looked like the most fun and ranked them. Their trips ranged from boring (Jeremy Lin’s) to very calm and efficient (KD’s) to silly and meme-worthy (Klay’s). With his charming take on #ChinaKlay’s 360 dunk fail and cameo on a top Korean TV variety show, Infinite Challenge, Steph came in first for Most Fun Asia Trip.
On August 5, Steph’s full appearance on Infinite Challenge was released on the web, featuring a bevy of Korean entertainers challenging Curry and his younger brother, Seth, in a five-on-two contest. Yes, August 5 was also the day of the Africa Game, but we all know which one was more entertaining.
I should warn you, though: For newcomers, watching East Asian unscripted shows—especially Infinite Challenge—can be a jarring experience. There are colorful graphics splattered on the screen, heavy use of slow-mo, inexplicably ridiculous game show challenges, and a gaggle of eccentric host-commentators having the best time of their lives. (These qualities are summed up in this clip of Jack Black as an Infinite Challenge guest last year, playing a game that requires wearing a stocking on your head while blowing out a lit candle.)
In the first third of Steph’s episode, a group of seven Under Armour–outfitted Korean comedians and actors—both guests and regulars on the show—are trained by former Korean pro baller Seo Jang Hoon for their upcoming game against Steph and Seth. About 30 minutes into the episode, Steph—nicknamed 매운맛 커리, or Spicy Curry, in Korea because of his skills—and Seth arrive at the decked-out, customized court for banter, a quick warm-up, and then the five-on-two game.
But this is no ordinary game. A Korean variety show is not complete without a bunch of surprise elements. In between the six-minute quarters, the Infinite Challenge team—despite having a three-man advantage on Brothers Curry—bring out a hodgepodge of golf handicaps come to life.
First comes the tamest surprise: an extra, extra wide hoop (“as big as America,” as Coach Seo put it) for the Infinite Challenge team. (It was supposed to help them. It doesn’t.)
Then, they bring out a backpack of hands to help with defense …
… and two blow-up air dancers flanking the edges of the paint, and an even bigger one on the back of a comedian.
And for the grand finale, the Currys are served a rotating backboard. (“How creative are you guys?” Steph asks. Don’t underestimate Korean variety shows, Steph.)
As with the other obstacles, after a few missed attempts, Steph and Seth get the hang of it, patiently waiting until it’s the perfect time to shoot. The score is 53-53 at the end of the fourth quarter and Steph insists they use the rotating hoop for free throws. “That’ll be fun,” he says. “The first one to make it wins.”
After model-slash-actor Nam Joo-hyuk, who wears no. 11 in honor of Klay, missed his free throw, Steph is up next. When the ball leaves Steph’s fingertips, you hear a faint “No way” in Korean by show regular Ha Dong-hoon, who goes by Haha. To the surprise of the hosts and game commentators (but to absolutely nobody else), the former NBA MVP and two-time champ drains the high-pressure game-winner. (It’s the perfect ending to show off his confidence and skills.)
After that winning shot, a quick shower of confetti, and a mini dance sesh set to “24K Magic,” Steph flew back to United States to complete his next offseason adventure. There’s no stopping Spicy Curry.