Stephen Curry has never struggled financially. He has never gone without because of necessity. He grew up on NBA sidelines, on golf courses and in private schools.
But all of the privilege in the world won’t help you in the NBA, and all the money in the world won’t guarantee an easy path to achievement.
It takes years of exhausting, physical and competitive will to become the best in the world at anything.
Curry wanted to be like his father — and more. He wanted to maintain a successful career in basketball, have a family, and inspire people.
Privilege can not make a person a great basketball player. Privilege can not guarantee a person is able to deal with being a professional athlete and a parent. Privilege rarely inspires.
Stephen Curry is the NBA’s MVP, a devoted husband and father, is an inspiration to thousands and he is just three wins away from being an NBA Champion.
He grew up watching his father achieve greatness and tried to emulate it the best he could. But Dell Curry‘s shadow was vast, and Steph was small, skinny, chaotic and overlooked.
Even so, his parents never allowed him to feel entitled or let the silver spoon cloud what was important.
During his MVP acceptance speech last month, Curry recalled not being allowed to play in his first middle-school basketball game because of chores he’d failed to finish at home:
“That’s a pretty embarrassing moment if you go to your first middle school game and you have to tell your team, hey, fellas, I can’t play tonight I didn’t do the dishes at home.”
He pushed on hoping to gain momentum, but the pressure continued to build in high school.
Understand, no matter a person’s social or economic status, there will always be people that are trying to bring you down, criticize and judge. No matter where you come from, you always have to prove your worth.
Curry said people would make a point to compare him to his father or heckle him because of who his father was:
“You get opposing crowds telling you, ‘How much did your dad pay the refs off’ or ‘Daddy can’t help you on the court’ and stuff like that every single place you go.”
His days of being underestimated, criticized with expectations heaped onto his name and laughed at for his boyish features seem distant. He now has a chance to prove the naysayers and haters wrong. Curry wants to win a championship and believes he will.
Three more victories. Just 144 well-played minutes. That seems like the only thing that stands between Curry and a NBA championship. But every moment until now, every drop of sweat, every pep talk, every film session, every practice makes all the difference and he isn’t taking any of it for granted.
Curry told SFBay that his father has been by his side throughout the playoffs and is drinking in the experience as well:
“I was just kind of joking that he’s been me and my wife’s roommate for the last month and a half, just tagging along. It’s special because he’s the example for me of how to be a true professional, and he should be able to enjoy this as much as I am.”
Curry added that if he wins a championship, sharing it with his father will mean the world:
“It would mean everything. Obviously basketball has been great to my family. He had a great 16-year career but never got past the second round of the playoffs. That alone kind of speaks volumes to me of how hard it is to get to this point let alone win a championship.”
The Warriors, with a 1-0 series lead, continue their Finals push with Game 2 at Oracle Arena on Sunday before heading to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.