Steph Curry wasn’t expected to be much of a college basketball player. As a 5’6″, 125 lb. sophomore at Charlotte Christian High School, he still shot the ball from his waist because he lacked strength. He had to reconstruct his shot that summer with the help of his father Dell. Coming out of high school, only one Division I college basketball program offered him a scholarship: unheralded Davidson. Too small. Not athletic enough, the major D1 programs said.
Early in his career at Davidson, coach Bob Mckillop told Steph’s father Dell that his son was going to make a lot of money playing basketball one day. Dell thought to himself: “Yeah. Maybe overseas”. As a sophomore at Davidson in 2008, Curry arrived on the scene with a breakout performance in the NCAA tournament, scoring 40, 30 and 33 points to lead The Wildcats over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before losing to #1 seed Kansas in the Elite 8. After his junior year, Curry declared for the NBA draft and was selected by The Golden State Warriors with the 7th pick.
But Curry’s early days as a pro were limited by recurrent ankle injuries. It certainly looked possible that whatever talent Steph had would never be realized. But Steph persevered, built up his ankles and continued improving. On February 27, 2013, Steph had a breakout game scoring 54 points, including 11 3-pointers, against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
In the 2014-2015 season, Steph won his first MVP averaging 24 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds a game, and led the Warriors to the NBA Championship over Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. In the 2015-2016 season, Steph took another leap forward notching 30 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds per game, en route to his second consecutive MVP. Unfortunately, The Warriors lost a 7 game series in the finals to James’ Cavaliers. The Warriors acquired Kevin Durant in the offseason and went on to win two consecutive championships before injuries derailed them in the 2019 Finals against Toronto.
Three years later, Steph and The Warriors are back in the NBA Finals. Fellow splash brother Klay Thompson is back from two devastating leg injuries and playing at a high level again as the Warriors enter Game 5 against the Boston Celtics Monday with the series tied 2-2. Curry put on perhaps his greatest Finals performance in Game 4 Thursday, scoring 43 points and putting the Warriors on his back to even the series.
To look at Steph today compared to images of him from high school and even college is to see tremendous development. Steph is faster, stronger and more athletic and his shooting and ball handling skills have continued to improve as well. He transformed himself into what ESPN called “The Longshot” into – along with Lebron James – the greatest basketball player of his generation.