Photo: Noah Salzman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Full name: Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry II
Born: March 14, 1988
Age: 32 years
Born Place: Akron, Ohio, United States
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
(Charlotte, North Carolina)
Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry II (born March 14, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A six-time NBA All-Star, Curry has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and won three NBA championships with the Warriors. Many players and analysts have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring teams to regularly utilize the three-point shot.
The son of former NBA player Dell Curry and older brother of current NBA player Seth, Curry played college basketball for the Davidson Wildcats. There, he was twice named Southern Conference Player of the Year and set the all-time scoring record for both Davidson and the Southern Conference. During his sophomore year, Curry also set the single-season NCAA record for three-pointers made, and was then selected by the Warriors with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
In 2014–15, Curry won his first MVP award and led the Warriors to their first championship since 1975. The following season, he became the first player in NBA history to be elected MVP by a unanimous vote and to lead the league in scoring while shooting above 50–40–90. That same year, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season en route to reaching the 2016 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry helped the Warriors return to the NBA Finals in 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, before being defeated by the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
During the 2012–13 season, Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season, with 272. He surpassed that record in 2015 with 286, and again in 2016 with 402. Curry is currently third in all-time made three-pointers in NBA history, and alongside teammate Klay Thompson, the pair have earned the nickname of the Splash Brothers; in 2013–14, they set the record for combined three-pointers in an NBA season with 484, a record they broke the following season (525), and again in the 2015–16 season (678).
Wardell Stephen Curry II is the son of Sonya and Dell Curry. He was born in Akron, Ohio while his father was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, where his father spent most of his NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets. Dell often took Curry and his younger brother Seth to his games, where they would shoot with the Hornets during warm-ups. The family briefly relocated to Toronto, where Dell finished out his career as a member of the Raptors. During this time, Curry played for the Queensway Christian College boys’ basketball team, leading them to an undefeated season. He was also a member of Toronto 5–0, a club team that plays across Ontario, pitting him against fellow future NBA players Cory Joseph and Kelly Olynyk. Curry led the team to a 33–4 record, en route to winning the provincial championship.
Following Dell’s retirement, the family moved back to Charlotte and Curry enrolled at Charlotte Christian School, where he was named all-conference, all-state, and led his team to three conference titles and three state playoff appearances. Because of his father’s storied career at Virginia Tech, Curry wanted to play college basketball for the Hokies, but was only offered a walk-on spot due in part to his slender 160-pound frame. He ultimately chose to attend Davidson College, who had aggressively recruited him from the tenth grade.
Curry is considered by many to be the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring basketball teams, from high school to the NBA, to regularly utilize the three-point shot. Analysts have referred to him as “the Michael Jordan of the three-point era,” stating that he did for the three-point shot what Jordan did for the dunk. The Guardian’s Robert O’Connell cites Curry’s February 27, 2013 game against the New York Knicks, in which he made 11 of 13 shots from behind the arc en route for a 54-point performance, as the start of the three-point era. The era has been referred to as “The Steph Effect” and “the NBA’s Three-Point Revolution.”
Before Curry, shooting behind the three-point line was more of a novelty, an occasional way of scoring. Catch and shoot players existed, but Curry’s success inspired the league to abandon physical play around the basket and to embrace a pace and space and three-point shooting style. The increase in three-point shooting is partly due to NBA teams incorporating it in their attempts to defeat the Warriors or copy the Warriors’ style of play, and to young people wanting to imitate Curry’s shooting range. Although this has led to players becoming good at or improving their three-point shot, it has also set unrealistic standards because Curry’s range is unique. Curry regularly takes shots from between 30 and 35 feet. He shoots 54 percent from this range, while the NBA makes 35 percent of its threes overall and under 22 percent from between 30 and 35 feet. He can make the shots with elite ball handling, off the dribble, and often with an extremely quick release, from anywhere on the court and with one or more defenders on him. Curry said that he is sure coaches tell their high school players that shooting the way he does takes work and time. Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post stated that “coaches have to explain that while Curry’s skill set is something to aspire to, his game is built on fundamentals” and that “while the Warriors have become the NBA’s gold standard and make all those social-media-bound plays, the root of their success is ball movement.”
Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN opined that “one of the keys to [Curry’s] greatness is his range” and that “Curry isn’t just the best 3-point shooter ever, he’s the best deep 3-point shooter ever.” Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post stated that he “moves around behind the three-point line in an ever-widening arc, sinking long distance shots so cleanly that the net seems to snap like fresh laundry in a breeze” and that a highlight is the “sheer preposterousness of his shots, and the rate at which he is sinking the most far-fetched of them.” She said that “in one stretch he hit a mind-expanding 67 percent between 28 and 50 feet.” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr stated that Curry’s hand-eye coordination “is as great as anyone I’ve ever seen.” Jeff Austin of Octagton concluded that Curry “had to develop tremendous strength in his wrists to shoot and maintain that form from 40 and 50 feet.” Goldsberry stated that “no player in the history of the NBA has combined range, volume and efficiency from downtown as well as Curry” and that “Curry’s jumper is so lethal that he has become the most efficient volume scorer on the planet.” His range and efficiency drove the developers of the NBA 2K video game series, in which Curry is featured, to worry that his abilities could not be replicated on screen.
Although Curry is commonly cited as the NBA’s greatest shooter, where he ranks as one of the greatest NBA players has been more subject to debate. Former NBA player Steve Nash, who is also among the NBA’s all-time efficient shooters, said Curry is “already an all-time great” and that people question his greatness “because he doesn’t dominate the game physically. He dances. He pays a tax for that. He pays a tax for his great teammates.” Scottie Pippen, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, said that Curry’s “willingness to sacrifice for [Kevin Durant] is one of the great stories in history” because Curry welcomed Durant, who is also a top player, to the Warriors without ego. “If you have a mind for the game, you know that it takes sacrifice to be great. All the greats have to sacrifice something. Otherwise you can’t win,” he said, crediting Curry with being “one of the greatest guards the game has ever seen.” CBS Sports ranked Curry #19 in their list of “50 greatest NBA players of all time”. Sports Illustrated ranked him #3, behind Durant and LeBron James, on their “Top 100 NBA Players of 2019” list. Sports Illustrated stated that “Curry and the Warriors are a great match of player and system” and that “the entire ecosystem is predicated on the idea that a player doesn’t need to dominate the ball to dominate a game. Curry took that noble idea and elevated it beyond any reasonable expectation.”
On July 30, 2011, Curry married longtime girlfriend and Toronto native Ayesha Alexander in Charlotte. Together, they have three children, daughters Riley (b. 2012) and Ryan (b. 2015) and son Canon (b. 2018). In July 2019, Curry paid $31 million for a home in Atherton, California. Curry’s younger brother, Seth, is also a professional basketball player, and his younger sister, Sydel, played volleyball at Elon University.
Curry has been outspoken about his Christian faith. He spoke about his faith during his MVP speech by saying, “People should know who I represent and why I am who I am, and that’s because of my Lord and Savior.” He also said the reason that he pounds his chest and points up is that he has a “heart for God” and as a reminder that he plays for God. On some of his “Curry One” basketball shoes, there is a lace loop scripted “4:13”. It is a reference to the Bible verse Philippians 4:13, which reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Curry has a tattoo of First Corinthians 13:8 in Hebrew on his wrist (“Love never fails…”). Curry is also an investor in Active Faith, a Christian sports apparel brand.
Curry suffers from keratoconus and wears contact lenses to correct his vision.
During the 1992 All-Star Weekend, Curry’s father entrusted him to Biserka Petrović, mother of future Hall of Fame player Dražen Petrović, while Dell competed in the Three-Point Contest. Following the 2015 NBA Finals, Curry gave Biserka one of his Finals-worn jerseys, which will reportedly be added to the collection of the Dražen Petrović Memorial Center, a museum to the late player in the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Curry is an avid golfer; he played golf in high school, and frequently plays golf with former teammate Andre Iguodala. A 5-handicap golfer, Curry participates in celebrity golf tournaments and has played golf alongside Barack Obama. In August 2017, Curry competed in the Ellie Mae Classic on an unrestricted sponsor exemption. Although he missed the first cut, he scored 4-over-74 for both days he participated, surpassing most expectations for an amateur competing in the pro event. In August 2019, Curry and Howard University, a historically black institution in Washington, D.C., jointly announced that the school would add NCAA Division I teams in men’s and women’s golf starting in the 2020–21 school year, with Curry guaranteeing full funding of both teams for six years. Curry is also a fan of British soccer club Chelsea FC.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
- 3× NBA champion: 2015, 2017, 2018
- 2× NBA Most Valuable Player: 2015, 2016
- 6× NBA All-Star: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- 6× All-NBA selection:
- 3× First team: 2015, 2016, 2019
- 2× Second team: 2014, 2017
- Third team: 2018
- All-Rookie First Team: 2010
- NBA scoring leader: 2016
- 5× NBA three-point field goals leader: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
- 4× NBA free-throw percentage leader: 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018
- NBA steals leader: 2016
- NBA Three-Point Contest champion: 2015
- NBA Skills Challenge champion: 2011
- NBA Sportsmanship Award: 2011
- NBA Community Assist Award: 2014
- NBA regular season record for made three-pointers (402)
- NBA record for most three-pointers made in a single playoffs (98 – tied with Klay Thompson)
- NBA Finals record for most three-pointers made in a game (9)
- NBA record for most consecutive regular season games with a made three-pointer (157)
- NBA record for most consecutive playoff games with a made three-pointer (90)
- NBA record for most points scored in an overtime period (17)
- Warriors franchise leader in three-point field goals made
- 2× SoCon Player of the Year (2008–2009)
- Consensus first-team All-American (2009)
- Consensus second-team All-American (2008)
- 2× First-team All-SoCon (2008–2009)
- 2× SoCon Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player (2007–2008)
- 3× SoCon first-team All-Tournament (2007–2009)
- SoCon Freshman of the Year (2007)
- SoCon All-Freshmen Team (2007)
- NCAA Division I scoring leader (2009)
- Single-season NCAA 3-point field goals (162, 2007–08)
- Single-season NCAA freshman 3-point field goals (122, 2006–07)
Davidson College records
- All-time leading scorer in Davidson College history (2,635)
- All-time Davidson College leader in 3-point field-goals made (414)
- All-time Davidson College leader in 30-point games (30)
- All-time Davidson College leader in 40-point games (6)
- Single-season Davidson College points (974, 2008–09)
- Single-season Davidson College steals (86, 2008–09)
- Single-season Davidson College freshman points (730, 2006–07)
- Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service in Professional Sports (2011)
- ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete and Best NBA Player (2015)
- BET Award for Sportsman of the Year (2015)
- AP Male Athlete of the Year (2015)
- Hickok Belt (2015)
- 2016 ESPY Award Nominee for Best Record-Breaking Performance
- BET Award for Sportsman of the Year (2019)
- Teen Choice Award for Choice Male Athlete (2019)