Stephen Curry Says He Started Caring More About His Pregame 'Tunnel Walk' Looks Due to Social Media (Exclusive)

"It's not just the two hours that we're on the court that people see us," Curry tells PEOPLE of using his platform to support Black designers

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC/getty</p> Steph Curry on Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Nathan Congleton/NBC/getty

Steph Curry on Tuesday, July 18, 2023

For Stephen Curry, the pre-game "tunnel walk" where players have the chance to express themselves sartorially has evolved in recent years into an opportunity to support Black designers.

"It's not just the two hours that we're on the court that people see us. It's the four hours before the game when you get out of the car or off the bus, you're walking into the arena, and there are cameras everywhere," Curry, 36, tells PEOPLE.

The Golden State Warriors star continues, "It's that moment of he's arriving for work, he's ready for business and what you have on is just demonstrating the energy and the type of time you're on."

Curry recently announced his partnership with Rakuten and the Black In Fashion Council (BIFC) to create a platform that brings more visibility to Black designers, helping them grow and scale their businesses.

Curry says the tunnel walk "was never really a thing" over the course of "the league's history," and says he suspects "social media obviously helps" play into that, but Curry emphasizes that the concept's significance has greatly increased in recent years. "It's evolved dramatically over time," he says.

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"And I think you can see a full range of looks from every player over a while, whether it's the casual sweatsuit to something designer to everywhere in between. So the who's who, the guys who have taken some crazy chances out there and done some wild stuff. But for me, it's just fun. You have all those eyeballs on you."

Curry won his fourth championship with the Warriors in 2022, and he says his pre-game outfits during that postseason run were carefully planned out.

"2022 playoffs is when I had a cohesive kind of strategy around how I was going to show up to every game and work with the stylists and my team, and we had looks from all Black designers and Black-owned brands that I got to rock for that entire playoff run," says Curry.

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This season, Curry and Rakuten have curated looks by designers in the BIFC network for the NBA star to wear in the tunnel.

On Wednesday, Curry matched a moto-style black jacket with black pants by Savant Studios for his tunnel walk before the Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 137-116.

<p>Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty</p> Stephen Curry

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty

Stephen Curry

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Curry tells PEOPLE he spent time with each of the designers, including Head of StateAdvisry, Des Pierrot and Pierre Blanc. "They all have such unique stories, and their backgrounds really come through with just how different each brand is," he says.

"I met almost half of the designers I've been working with in person and got to talk to them through the whole styling process and all that, and letting them take chances at what they want to see me in and their own brands is pretty awesome."

And if fans see something they like on the NBA star, they can easily snag a piece for themselves via Rakuten. "Once you see it on me and you see it on the tunnel walk, you know where to find it the next day."

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