Stephen Curry stood up there for more than an hour, thanking his family, his teammates, his friends, coaches and colleagues for playing a part in the MVP campaign that became official inside an Oakland hotel conference room on Monday afternoon. It was, in some respects, the same kind of meaningful moment that we have grown accustomed to watching this time of year. The Golden State Warriors star has his own unique story, to be sure, having grown up as the son of a professional player in Charlotte, N.C. and made his own way in the NBA.
He choked up when he discussed that path, saying to his father, Dell: “Pop, you were the example of what a true professional is on and off the court. I remember a lot of your career, and to be able to follow in your footsteps …” Curry took a break to compose himself. “… it means a lot to me, and this is special.” He credited his faith and his family, from his wife Ayesha to his daughter Riley, mother Sonya and siblings Seth and Sydel and grandparents too. But the up-and-down way in which he got here, this path that could have changed so drastically had things taken a different turn, is the part of Curry’s story that is often overlooked.
The early years of losing with the Warriors. The ankle problems that caused so much concern. Even Curry admits he didn’t always see this coming. “You have big dreams, but you don’t know exactly what it will feel like at the end, or what the end will be,” Curry said. “I try to live in the moment as much as possible, (but) there were some terrible times (where) you question the future a little bit maybe. ‘How do I get out of this situation?’ or ‘What’s it going to take to really make a comeback?’ ”
As MVP career arcs go, Curry’s was different than most. When LeBron James won his first of four in 2009, it was simply a case of a transcendent player living up to lifelong expectations. When Kevin Durant pulled it off last season, it was the peak individual moment for a player who was always considered elite and who had grown better with every passing year. But Curry’s path was different, as he was heralded in college while at Davidson but instantly questioned in NBA circles when it came to his pro potential. What’s more, there were a number of fork-in-the-road moments that could have changed everything about his story along the way.
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