About a month ago Stephen Curry was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.The Golden State Warriors shooting guard helped his club jump out to an early lead in the Western Conference this season. They finished the regular season with 67 wins, the most in the league (five less wins than Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1994-95 season).
It was the Warriors stellar season and Curry’s marksmanship from outside the 3-point arc that lead to him being named the 2014-15 MVP, beating out other top-tier NBA talent in James Harden, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
And yet, even after a dominating season, the all-star point guard still seemed to be in awe when he accepted his award on May 4. As is the custom, Curry gave an acceptance speech with his teammates, coaches, family, and media in attendance. The man that shined through during the speech was remarkable. I’m convinced every basketball fan should be a Stephen Curry fan. Heck, every human being should be a Stephen Curry fan. Here are some excerpts of Curry’s speech that have led me to this conclusion.
“First and foremost, I have to thank my and Lord and savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talents to play this game, with a family that supports me day-in and day-out. I’m his humble servant right now.”
Protecting one’s image and appealing to the largest common denominator is a useful tactic for gaining influence. Curry is doing neither one of those in bolding making a vow of faith. Kudos to Curry for being open and real.
“I’ve got to talk about this guy really quick. Eric Housen, who is in the back, he’s going to be really embarrassed. We’ve got the best equipment manager in the league; I think these guys would agree. … Sometimes we’re a little needy, sometimes we might need an extra pair of socks and it’s our fault that we lost them. But we appreciate everything that you do.”
A professional athlete’s life is filled with commitments: games, press conferences, travel, signing memorabilia, and more. It would be easy for the work of the team equipment manager to go unnoticed. Curry not only acknowledges the work of the guy who inflates the basketballs before practice and washes the uniforms after games, he admits that sometimes he makes the guy’s job harder than it should be.
“When it comes to basketball, I was always the smallest kid on my team.I had a terrible, ugly catapult shot from the time I was 14 because I wasn’t strong enough to shoot over my head, and I had to reconstruct that over the summer and it was the worst three months of my life.”
No one could have predicted Curry’s rise to the claiming the highest individual honor in the NBA.
Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, college basketball powerhouses like the Duke and North Carolina were only a couple hours up the interstate. It would have been easy for scouts to watch Curry play in high school.But instead of winding up in Chapel Hill or Durham, having Dick Vitale call your games on ESPN, he wound up in Davidson, North Carolina, playing for the mid-major Wildcats. It was in college where Curry began to steal the national spotlight. He was drafted after his sophomore year of college.
“You don’t have to live anybody else’s story. Sometimes people make it seem like you have to have certain prerequisites or a crazy life story in order to be successful in this world. But the truth is you really don’t.”
It would have been easy for Curry to take advantage of his last name in youth basketball, being the son of former NBA player Dell Curry. But Curry did not and instead put in the hard work at every step of his career. And it’s gotten him pretty far.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday in San Francisco when the Golden State Warriors face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the right to be called NBA champion.