How Steph Curry Became an NBA Superstar
Steph Curry is unlike most basketball players.
One of the greatest shooters of all time, the Golden State Warriors point guard can score from anywhere on the court. He is a three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP.
But as great a player as he is, Curry might be an even better person.
See how the Warriors' leader became an NBA superstar.
The 'A' for Ayesha
Stephen and Ayesha Curry have been married for seven years, and their love is straight out of a fairy tale.
The two Charlotte natives met in church, and he was shy at first. According to Curry on his wife’s YouTube "Husband Tag" video, he sent her a Facebook message asking her to hang out. They went on their first date in Hollywood and had chai tea. Later, he bought some Oakley sunglasses that were way out of his price range to impress his then-girlfriend.
The couple dated throughout Curry’s time in college at Davidson and tied the knot on July 30, 2011.
Now, Curry's wife is his biggest supporter. He returns the favor by supporting Ayesha, who is a chef and has opened her own restaurant, International Smoke, in San Francisco.
In fact, Curry loves his wife so much he tattooed a cursive "A" on his left ring finger because he can’t wear his ring when he plays.
Not One Division I Offer
Steph Curry has been doubted on the basketball court his whole life. After earning all-state honors at Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, he did not receive one scholarship offer from an elite Division I men’s college basketball program, crushing his dreams of playing at North Carolina or Duke.
Instead, the shooter with a slight frame and cherubic face went on to play for the Davidson Wildcats, a small mid-major school in Charlotte. He became a household name for the whole nation when he led Davidson to the Elite Eight in the 2008 NCAA tournament.
Just Don't Do It
It pays to say someone’s name right. That's why Steph Curry chose to leave Nike for Under Armour in 2013.
"The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father, Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as ‘Steph-on,' " writes Ethan Strauss in an ESPN article. None of the other Nike officials corrected the mispronunciation of Curry’s first name, which is pronounced "Steff-en." To make matters worse, the elite sports apparel brand had a presentation with Kevin Durant’s name on it.
Nike lost the most popular player since Michael Jordan.
In March 2016, Curry's reported worth to Under Armour was $14 billion.
MC Smooth Curry
Step Curry loves to have fun on and off the court. His off-the-court humor shined in a 2009 music video he made at Davidson just before he went to the NBA.
The 5-minute video called "I Love Commons" featured Curry, some of his Davidson classmates and other students waxing poetic about college life over a nice hip-hop beat. It has over 1 million views on YouTube.
You can watch it here.
Heart of a Champion
Curry goes beyond his athlete status to help people in need.
Ever since his playing days at Davidson, he has been an advocate for the fight against malaria. In 2013, for every three-point shot he made, Curry began donating three bed nets to families in Tanzania as part of the Nothing But Nets campaign.
In 2017, Curry unveiled a partnership with Under Armour. For every pair of Curry 4 low shoes sold, he donated a bed net.
A Different Kind of Shoe Commercial
Not everything always goes according to plan.
After the Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals in seven games — the first time a team blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals and a devastating loss for a team that had won the most games in the regular season (73) in NBA history — Steph Curry and the Warriors had to regroup.
Under Armour planned to release a shoe commercial about how Curry won his second NBA title, but instead, they had to tweak the message to show his resilience. In the commercial, a boy says, "73-9 and no ring?" Another boy replies, "Our man mad now."
When the Warriors won the championship in 2017, at the parade, Curry sported a T-shirt and hat that read “Made That Old” in gold lettering, meaning "made that old news."
You can watch the commercial here.
Born to Break Records
Curry is the greatest three-point marksmen in the history of the game, and he wants to make sure his name remains atop the record book.
He first set the single-season record for most three-pointers made in the 2014-15 campaign with 286.
The next year, he took it up a level. Heading into the last game of the 2016 season at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, Steph Curry had made 392 threes and needed just eight more to reach 400 — a ridiculous number for any player at any level. Curry started off hot, hitting several threes in the opening quarter. He didn’t cool off, and in the third quarter, he hit his 400th three of the season. Curry made two more treys to finish the season with 402, while the Warriors captured their record-breaking 73rd win of the season.
In the 2016-17 season, Curry made 324 three-pointers.
The Warriors weren't always the class of the NBA. They used to be bottom feeders, and in the 2009 draft, they had the seventh pick and took Curry as their franchise cornerstone.
But the story could have gone another way. Curry's agent, Jeff Austin, and dad, Dell, did not want the Warriors to take Steph because they thought he would be a better fit in New York with the Knicks, who had the eighth pick. (Jordan Hill went to the Big Apple.)
The Warriors also had talks with the Phoenix Suns on draft night of trading Curry for big man Amar'e Stoudemire. Then-Suns general manager Steve Kerr, the current Warriors head coach, envisioned Curry playing alongside Steve Nash and becoming the heir apparent to the Hall of Fame point guard.
Good thing Golden State didn't pull the trigger on any Curry moves. They kept him and have built the best team in the NBA.
'Working On Excellence'
Curry always is striving to be the best player he can be. It’s no wonder he got a tattoo that signifies his work ethic.
The meaning of Curry’s tattoo that says "WOE" on his right bicep is "Working On Excellence."
He's living up to those words, as his last few seasons have been nothing short of excellent — capturing NBA titles, MVP awards and records.
The King and I
Stephen Curry is the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry.
When Steph was a kid, they appeared in a Burger King commercial together. He had on a shirt that seemed three sizes too big and asked his dad if he could make it to the NBA.
Many years later, Steph Curry achieved that dream and more. He has become one of the best players the game has seen with his quick shooting release and lethal ballhandling skills.
Mother Knows Best
Steph Curry, 30, has a brother (Seth, 28, plays in the NBA), sister (Sydel, 24, is a former Division I volleyball player at Elon) and close relationship with his mother, Sonya.
She still scolds her eldest child if he does anything out of the ordinary or unchristian like and once kept Steph out of a middle school basketball game because he failed to do his chores.
"We only work as a family if everybody does their part," she said during an appearance on the "Today" show. "It's not my job to do everything for everybody. ... If one thing didn't work at home, it then affected all the other things outside the home."
Committing turnovers are no different. Curry and his mother made a bet that for each turnover he commits in a game, he has to pay her $100. For his career, he averages 3.3 turnovers per game, which comes out as $330 per game.
Thank You, Dad
Curry's game reached a new level in 2015 — averaging 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field, including 44 percent from beyond the arc — as he led the Warriors to a 67-15 record and secured the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
For his efforts, Curry was named the NBA's regular-season MVP.
During his MVP speech, he got emotional talking about how much his father played a role in shaping him as the player and man he is today. It was Dell Curry who helped Stephen fine-tune his jump shot into a deadly shooting stroke. He was the example for his son on and off the court.
'I Can Do All Things'
Many players write inscriptions on their sneakers. Curry is no different.
A devout Christian, he puts Bible scripture on his shoes. He started doing this in college.
Today, Curry writes part of the Philippians 4:13 verse, "I can do all things," to remind himself that he plays this game for a higher power.