The “Baby-Faced Assassin,” “Chef Curry,” “The Cheat Code,” whatever you want to call Wardell Stephen “Steph” Curry, there is no denying he is now the face of basketball. The reigning league MVP has been a walking highlight reel for the past two seasons. And as he blows out the candles to another year on Earth we don’t see how he and his Golden State Warriors can be stopped.
But his basketball career path wasn’t an easy progression to being the best in the world. He worked hard at the game, putting in hours of work with his dad, former NBA player Dell Curry. Still, with his sweet stroke he wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school and played for Davidson, who had shown interest in him for many years. And for that he gave them three years of exciting play. At Davidson he became a first-team All-American, scoring leader and (no surprise) 3-point field goal leader. Even with issues due to his size and weight he went number seven in the 2009 NBA Draft, ultimately ending up second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
During his first seasons he would have glimpses of his special talents, although injuries to his ankle hindered his play. Still, during that time he was a member of Nike and he was given P.E. editions of various sneakers, with small numbers being made to be sold at Foot Locker House of Hoops locations.
Prior to the 2012-13 season, the Warriors signed Curry to a non-max four-year deal, showing faith in the guard, but also wary of his injuries. By showing faith in him, Curry came back stronger than ever. Over the course of that year, Curry and teammate Klay Thompson earned the nickname “The Splash Brothers.” They also made it to the NBA Playoffs, beating the Denver Nuggets in the first round but losing to the San Antonio Spurs. The following year his game grew even more, once again helping his team make it into the Playoffs. However, they ran into a strong Los Angeles Clippers team and lost in a 7-game series.
But it all came together in the 2014-2015 season even with a lot of change. With Steve Kerr as the new head coach the team played a more free-flowing offense. This allowed Curry to shine and make plays all over the court. He would start to be shown on night sports highlight reels as the team played exciting offense and strong defense. He was rewarded with being the leading vote-getter for the NBA All-Star game and winning the 3-point contest.
It was also during that time he made the change to Under Armour. The brand respected his play, ethics, and persona. So they invested in him, not only as an athlete, but giving him stake in the company. The bold move paid off quickly, along with this first signature model, the Curry 1.
Although many consider it a lucky path, the Warriors worked their way through the Western Conference and met the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Against an injured Cleveland Cavaliers team led by LeBron James, Curry averaged 26 points and 6.3 assists per game to help the Warriors win their first championship in 40 years.
The 2015-2016 season is much more of the same with more dominance. With reports and whispering that prior’s year team was a fluke, the Warriors came into the season hungrier then ever. And led by their baby-faced leader they are showing the world that their skills, talents, and abilities were made through teamwork and long hours in the gym.
As Curry enjoys another birthday there is not much more he could wish for. This might be the year he can win another MVP trophy, NBA Championship, and possibly an Olympic gold medal.