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Okay, so there was a recent basketball game between the Golden State Warriors (GSW) and the Los Angeles Clippers, where GSW — the underdog — came back from a 22-point deficit to beat the Clippers by 10 points. Around the last minute of the game, Steph Curry hit a three-pointer over one of the star players of the Clippers to seal the deal. When Curry took that shot, the commentator went crazy and said:

The productive, prolific hands of Steph Curry ... In his bag — deep — like the fries are at the bottom.

What does "like the fries are at the bottom" really mean in this context? What does that have to do with basketball or Curry hitting that three-pointer? This isn't unexpected of him; he is clearly one of the best players in the game. This has to be a reference to something popular to have come up so fast in the commentator's mind. This is a clever way of saying what exactly?

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  • No idea, maybe it has a literal meaning with the fries being an incentive Jan 10, 2021 at 13:15
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    Sports commentators' analogies are notoriously strained; here in the UK we have a whole category known as "Colemanballs" after a football commentator who was especially given to this sort of thing. I don't think we can guess what it means without hearing the whole thing, and probably not even then. Perhaps something to do with fries falling out of the carton and just remaining loose at the bottom of the bag? Or the fries at the bottom having more salt? No idea. Jan 10, 2021 at 16:59

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The commentator, Mark Jones, is either referencing, or just imitating, the 2018 song "I Might Need Security" by Chance the Rapper. The second verse starts:

I don't get no paper, I gotta sign at the bottom

Still in my bag like the fries at the bottom

Since I can't find an earlier version, my assumption is that Chance came up with the simile, which connects two things:

  • The observation that there are often french fries at the bottom of a fast-food bag.
  • The slang term "to be in (one's) bag."

"To be in one's bag" means "to be focused" or "to do something to one's highest level of ability" (The Online Slang Dictionary, Urban Dictionary). It's also possible the line alludes to money (as does "paper" in the previous line), through another slang term, "the bag," often seen in phrases like "secure the bag" and "fumble the bag." Though Chance himself wrote an explanation of the line, he did not clarify specifically what he meant by "in my bag."

The majority of American English speakers are likely not familiar with the phrase "in his bag." All of the terms discussed in the previous paragraph are part of hip hop culture and might have even deeper roots in Black English. I don't know if there is a connection to an older use of "my bag" to mean one's personal style or preference, which dates back to the 1960s and jazz culture.

So, what does Mark Jones' usage mean in the context of commentating Curry's shot?

  • "In his bag" could mean that Steph is "in the zone" -- focused and making an impressive series of moves leading up to the shot. However, given that Mark Jones is 60 years old and may not be an avid hip hop listener (pure speculation!) he could also have been thinking of the idiom "bag of tricks," which would have much the same meaning here.
  • "Like the fries are at the bottom" is the simile, inspired by Chance the Rapper, which connects with the literal meaning of "in his bag." Jones may have inserted the "are" inadvertently, but it (sort of) works either way -- if the fries were at the bottom, one could be (reaching) into one's bag to grab them.
  • "Deep" could be referring to the shot (in basketball terms, a "deep" shot is one from far away) or to the not-yet-mentioned fries (deep in the bag).

Lastly, why does Jones use the simile at all? It's a form of emphasis. Even if it's not explicit hyperbole (e.g. "he's driving into the lane with the force of a freight train"), using figurative language adds emphasis for the sole reason that it is less used. NBA commentators use words like "incredible," "amazing," etc so frequently that using something a bit unusual can seem more appropriate in truly extraordinary moments, such as Curry's shot to clinch the win. Another example of a similar phenomenon is Mike Breen yelling "Bang!" after big shots, or various commentators saying "he shoots from <insert nearby city>" instead of "he shoots a long three."

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he shot a deep 3, and you usually reach deep into the bag to get the last fries

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I have been meaning to write an answer for this for some time now.

The productive, prolific hands of Steph Curry ... In his bag — deep — like the fries are at the bottom.

The commentator is basically referring to Steph having to reach real deep in his bag of arsenal of basketball moves. Steph was putting on a show, performing at his absolute best to bring back his team from a 22-point deficit.

Steph had to use every move (and every bit of energy) he had in his bag (and in his tank) to not only cut the deficit but actually win. On the last play, where Steph hits that three-pointer over George Paul, he set up the shot by mixing in a few dribbling moves: Steph took the ball between his legs, behind his back, and then added a step-back right before pulling up.

That is what the commentator was referring to. Reaching deep within oneself. So, "like the fries are at the bottom" is a metaphor comparing —

how Steph had to really reach deep (and use the last bit of his technique and energy) to win

to

how we have to reach deep into a bag of fast food to get the remaining fries at the bottom.

That is some legendary commentary!

And here is something from the YouTube comments:

Announcer said Steph Curry was deep in his bag (his arsenal of moves). [I]f you have ever had fast food, the last couple French fries always fall to the bottom of the bag and you have [to] dig down in the bag to get them. Steph is deep in his bag like his fries were at the bottom. - Michael Barnes

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