Stephen Curry's world view isn't complete. But it's coming along.
"What do you call the people here?" he asked by phone from Istanbul. "Turkins? That's not right."
No, and we wouldn't suggest calling them Turkeys, either.
"Wait -- Turks," he said. "Yeah, Turks. They like us here. Except when we play Turkey."
Curry, the Warriors' soon-to-be second-year guard, has spent the summer with Team USA, which meets Croatia on Saturday in its opening game of the FIBA World Championship. Curry is the first Warriors player to make the U.S. national team since Chris Mullin in 1992.
It has made for a hectic summer. Workouts began in Las Vegas last month, then moved to New York. Team USA landed in Madrid for games Aug. 21-22, victories over Lithuania and Spain. It routed Greece in Athens on Wednesday.
"We're in a pretty good position," Curry said. "We're playing well. We've been able to go through some different situations. Now we can come in Saturday and keep our momentum going."
Team USA may be lacking in superduperstar power -- which is to say it doesn't include any members of the Miami Heat -- but it is awash in exceptional young talent. Kevin Durant leads the team in scoring (17.3) and rebounding (7.3). Derrick Rose tops the team with 10 assists. Eric Gordon has made 7 of 15 3-point attempts. Old heads Chauncey Billups and Lamar Odom provide experience. But mostly this is a team of young pups.
That's not unusual. The big names tend to come out in Olympic years. The world championships are often left to second-tier stars. Consequently, the United States has not won the event since 1994.
"This is a coveted position we're all in, to play for the national team and try to win the world championship," Curry said. "We haven't done it in 16 years, we understand that. We've tasted the Olympic gold medal, but this tournament is something we've kind of let slip. That's what kind of opportunity we have -- to make history. We're really focused."
Curry averaged five points in the four exhibitions, getting slightly less than 10 minutes per game. Only Kevin Love has played fewer minutes, but Curry is impressed with the way Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has them playing short, intense shifts.
"It's interesting how he brings his college philosophy to the international game and brings NBA guys together," Curry said. "The rotation we have on our team, with the number of guys who can contribute, guys are getting a shorter amount of time, shorter spurts. So you have to be ready. We're playing aggressive, high-energy defense. That was a good thing for us to go through, to get adjusted."
That adjustment, Curry said, has been bigger than the adjustment to the international game -- which some American players like, some tolerate, and some despise. After Team USA tanked in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Tim Duncan famously declared, "FIBA (stinks)," referring to governing body for international basketball.
"It's a little more physical," Curry said. "Sometimes you have to deal with difficult officiating."
On the other hand, the international 3-point line is 20 inches closer to the basket than the NBA's.
"For the most part, when we're spreading the floor, I'm not toed up on the line," said Curry, who got his first taste of international hoops with the U.S. under-19 team three years ago. "When you're toed up, you're a little closer. But we still shoot our fair share of NBA 3s."
The world championships will last 16 days, leaving Team USA's players just enough time to scramble back home for what Curry calls their "real jobs."
And about that: Curry was able to meet with Warriors owner-in-waiting Joe Lacob during the Team USA training camp in Las Vegas last month. He liked what he heard.
"He's enthusiastic, and that's all that matters right now," Curry said. "He has a chance to kind of change the look of the team and instill a winning attitude we haven't had in a while. It's a tough road, and it's not going to happen overnight. It's good just to know he isn't doing it for the wrong reasons. He's investing time and focus into getting the team heading in the right direction. He wants to build through the draft, stick with young core we have.
"I'm pretty excited I got a chance to meet him. I look forward to getting back to the Bay."
He should have plenty to tell us. Talking Turkey, if you will.
Contact Gary Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.