Stephen Curry's transformation from an undersized, overlooked high school kid to the best player in the league (and quite possibly the best shooter in NBA history), has been quite the eye opener for basketball fans across the world. But being from Charlotte adds an additional layer of pride for all of us who grew up with the Hornets in the 80's. We practically watched him grow up from the cute little kid tagging along with his father Dell, to honing his craft at Charlotte Christian High School, to dominating at Davidson and leading an incredible Cinderella run to the precipice of the Final Four.
It all started with Dell Curry, a smooth shooting legend from Virginia Tech, arriving in Charlotte via the expansion draft in 1988 when the Hornets franchise first started. His 3 point marksmanship helped lead the young Hornets to multiple playoff appearances, winning the NBA 6th man of the year award in 1994, and finishing as the all team leader in points scored in Charlotte Hornets history.
Little did we ever imagine that the little kid bouncing on his lap before the games could even come close to his father's success. After being passed over by every major college team in the country after high school, he decided to join an incredible basketball program just north of Charlotte at Davidson College. Under the wise leadership of Bob McKillop, Curry and the Wildcats tormented and utterly dominated their small conference competition, finally bursting onto the national scene when they faced up against the major college programs of Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin. Only a last second missed 3 point shot stopped Davidson from advancing to the Final Four in 2008.
After showing some early flashes with the Golden State Warriors, he suffered several setbacks with a severe ankle injury. At one point, even the Warriors were not fully sure of his future, and he wasn't able to sign a full value contract on par with his abilities. Once healthy, Steph's shooting prowess became legendary in its own right. He broke the NBA record for 3 pointers made in a season in 2013, then broke his own record the very next year, while winning the 3 point contest at the All-Star game. But unlike his father, he developed a sophisticated ball handling repertoire that allows him to go anywhere on the court and get any shot off he desires. This incredible season continued with Curry winning a very unexpected, but very deserved, MVP award as the best player in the league.
During the Warriors playoff run, we were introduced to Stephen's own bouncing bundle of joy, the show stopping, interview interrupting Riley Curry. Curry's dream season culminated in an NBA Finals victory over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, completing one of the most amazing runs any player has ever seen. From one Charlottean to another, I say congratulations, good luck, and thank you to the Curry family.