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NBA 75 Series: #12 Stephen Curry

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Originally #13 on my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time list, and, after winning another championship to put his total to four, has become the greatest shooter to ever touch a basketball period: the one and only, Stephen Curry! Curry was born March 14, 1988, in Akron, Ohio, to his mother, Sonya, and father, Dell, who played in the NBA for 16 years; Dell was one of the NBA’s best shooters. Curry was born in the same town as one LeBron James, who would become his rival in the NBA.

Curry had it differently than most NBA greats because his father played in the NBA, and he was quickly introduced to the game of basketball, with Dell taking Curry to his practices and games. He was able to be around the professionals and witness how they would prepare for games, their practice habits, and so forth. This would give him an advantage against others growing up as he looked to make a name for himself.

Curry would shoot with the pros during warmups while his dad was a member of the Charlotte Hornets. His family would then relocate to Toronto, Ontario, in Canada, where his dad would finish his career as a member of the Toronto Raptors; he played with the acrobatic, highflying Vince Carter. During their time in Canada, Curry played for the Queensway Christian College boys’ basketball team, where he would lead them to an undefeated season.

Curry also played for Toronto, 5-0, against other future NBA players and fellow Canadians Cory Joseph and Kelly Olynyk. He would lead the team to a 33-4 record, en route to a provincial championship. After his father’s retirement from the league in 2002, the Currys moved back to Charlotte, where Curry would attend Charlotte Christian School and be named All-State and All-Conference.

Curry would also lead his team to three conference titles and three state playoff appearances. Despite Curry’s incredible basketball IQ and skill, he was an after-thought to major schools because of his slender frame, at 6’1, and 160 pounds, by the time he finished high school. Luckily enough, there was a small school named Davidson, where he would go on to play for the Wildcats under the head coach, Bob McKillop.

McKillop gave Curry high praise at an alumni event when he stated, "Wait till you see Steph Curry. He is something special.” In his first game, he would score 15 points but commit a plethora of turnovers (13). He would improve, however, with a 32-point, four assists, and nine-rebound performance against Michigan the next game.

Curry finished that season eclipsing the school freshman record with a 21.5 points-per-game average, which led the Southern Conference that year. He also had team success by leading the WIldcats to a 25-9 record and broke the freshman season record for 3-pointers (113), formerly set by Keydren Clark.

He helped lead Davidson to the NCAA tournament as a No. 13 seed, where they played Maryland in the first round. Curry put a show by scoring 30 points, but the team would end up losing 82-70. At the conclusion of his freshman year at Davidson, Curry garnered a host of awards, from being named the Southern Conference Player of the Year, the SoCon Tournament MVP, the All-Freshman team and more.

As a sophomore in 2007-08, Curry grew to his NBA height of 6’3 and averaged a staggering 25.5 points per game as a sophomore, which led the Southern Conference for the second consecutive season; ]he also added 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per game. He helped lead the Wildcats to a 26-6 record, and an undefeated record in the conference, by going 20-0. Davidson would make the NCAA Tournament once again due to Curry’s dazzling play.

He would go on a magical run that spring of 2008 by matching up with No. 7 Gonzaga, who were up by 11 early in the second half. But Curry went absolutely ballistic, scoring a staggering 30 points in the half, and ending with 40 overall, to lead Davidson to their first ever win in the tournament since 1969.

They moved on to the second round and matched up against the No. 2 Georgetown Hoyas, where Curry struggled to score a mere 5 points in the first half of the game, with his team trailing by as many as 17 points. His second half was another iconic performance as he scored 25 points to help lead his team to a comeback 74-70 victory over the favored Hoyas.

Curry put on another magnificent performance against Wisconsin, where he scored 33 points and had a 73-56 victory to help Davidson advance to the Elite Eight. Curry would become one of four players (Clyde Lovellette, Jerry Chambers, & Glenn Robinson) to score 30 plus points in his first four career NCAA tournament games. He set the 3-point record in a single season, with his 159th against the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks, where Curry scored 25; but the team would end up losing in a nail biter, 59-57, to the eventual champions, the Jayhawks.

He was named to the All-American Second Team and the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, with averages of 25.9 points, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game.

Curry could have entered the 2008 NBA Draft after a fantastic tournament run, but he decided to return for his junior year to improve his skills as a point guard. He set career highs in points (44) against Oklahoma, with a 82-78 loss, and assists (13), along with 30 points and 97-70 win over Winthrop. The Wildcats would fail to qualify for March Madness despite a great run the year prior.

Curry finished with 2,488 career points at Davidson and averaged 28.6 points, 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals. He led the NCAA in scoring and was named a consensus first team All-American. Curry opted out of his senior season to enter his name in the 2009 NBA Draft. He went on to be selected seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors, behind players such as Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Jonny Flynn.

Curry had a solid rookie season, with 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and a shade under 2 steals per game (with 1.9 in 80 games). He scored 30 plus points eight times and was named on the All-Rookie First Team. Nagging ankle injuries halted Curry’s ascension early in his career. His breakout game to superstardom was most likely that night on February 27, 2013, at Madison Square Garden, where he would put on a show against the New York Knicks by torching them for 54 points. It was his career high at that point and showed his elite shooting repertoire on national television.

Ultimately, Curry would become the second greatest point guard ever, and the man who “ruined the game,” some would say; but instead he absolutely revolutionized it with his ridiculous shooting ability from all over the court. Curry is by far the greatest shooter in NBA history when you consider the way he does it, the volume, the efficiency, and the fact that he has won multiple MVPs and championships. His shooting looks “Stephortless,” as the great Shaq would say. He’s a four-time NBA champion, a Finals MVP (2022) and a two-time league MVP (2015, 2016), with 2016 being unanimous. He is also the only unanimous MVP in league history! He was the engine behind that 73-9 Warriors team and helped turn the franchise into a winner, alongside his “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson and “Swiss Army Knife” Draymond Green.

He also is an eight-time all-star and All-NBA, and he has led the league in scoring twice; he was the steals leader of 2016, and he made the prestigious 50-40-90 club in his unanimous MVP season. He has made Mike Breen's “Bang!” call synonymous around the world and has inspired kids to shoot 3-pointers. He also inspired kids by showing that you don’t have to be the biggest or most athletic player to be successful in the league. He has broken every 3-point record imaginable, and achieved the most in a season, with a whopping 402 in 2016; he owns four of the top five 3-pointers made in a season in NBA history! It leaves you speechless at what this man has done and can do on a basketball court.

He unselfishly welcomed KD with open arms and helped spear them into a dynasty powerhouse, winning back-to-back Finals in 2017 and 2018. He is the NBA’s all-time 3-point king, with 3,117, which he will continue to push to unimaginable heights, barring injuries. He brings joy to the game as the baby-faced assassin and has made the game fun to watch again. He is the ultimate competitor, and with another chip to his resume, he is now a Finals MVP, after defeating the Boston Celtics in six games, which saw Curry put up 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists, while shooting an efficient 48 plus from the field and 43% from beyond the arc.

After so much talk over Curry not having an “iconic” performance or a Finals MVP, he put that to bed in this year's Finals, which included a mesmerizing 43-point Game 4 performance at the TD Garden against the best defensive team of last season, the Celtics. The Celtics were led by their star forwards, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart.

So is Curry currently a top 10 player of all time, with a Finals MVP, and now two rings without Durant? And how high can he climb before his career is over? Can he win another ring or two, perhaps even more? We’ll have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure, never count out the greatest shooter who has ever roamed the planet.

He is the “Baby Faced Assassin”!

Is Steph the greatest point guard of all time?

  • For sure

  • No, but he's top 2

  • Top 5

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