Happy 32nd birthday to a player that changed the way the game is played today!
Originally known as the son of NBA player Dell Curry, Steph couldn't even receive a scholarship offer from his father's alma mater Virginia Tech. The Golden State Warriors star point guard has come a long way from the three-star high school recruit he once was. Let's take a look at the ten moments that define Curry's career.
In chronological order...
1. 2008 March Madness tournament run
In 2008, Davidson College earned the No. 10 seed in March Madness after a 20-0 conference record. Led by Curry, the Wildcats made one of the most improbably tournament runs to date.
In the first round versus No. 7 seed Gonzaga, Steph scored 40 points, with 30 in the second half to advance Davidson to the next round. Now matched up with Georgetown, one of the favorites to win the 2008 tournament, Curry's magic didn't stop there. Trailing by 17 at halftime, Steph scored 25 points in the second half to upset the No. 2 seeded Hoyas.
He continued to roll, upsetting No. 3 seed Wisconsin by scoring 30 points to advance to the Elite 8. Despite a 25 point outing from Curry, Davidson fell to the future champion Kansas Jayhawks by four.
2. The 2009 NBA Draft
After Curry's improbable tournament run in 2008, he decided to stick around for his junior season in 2009. Failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Curry declared for the 2009 NBA Draft.
His size depreciated his draft stock but his shooting stroke and playmaking ability still earned him a top-10 pick. Selected with the seventh overall pick, Curry was the fourth guard taken. The Minnesota Timberwolves had back-to-back picks at five and six and selected two guards, Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio, over Steph.
Curry was greeted by loud, but respectful, boos from passionate New York Knicks fans who were disappointed they did not get the sharpshooting guard with the following pick.
3. 54 points at Madison Square Garden
In 2013, Curry showed Knicks fans they were right to be frustrated when he didn't fall to New York on draft night. Even though the Warriors lost, Steph posted a career-high 54 points. He shot 18-for-28 from the field and knocked down 11-of-13 3-point attempts, falling just one three shy of tying what was then the NBA record. In this same season, he broke the record for 3s made in a season burying 272 shots from deep - a record he would later destroy three more times.
4. First MVP and NBA Championship
The 2014-15 NBA season was the true breakout party for the superstar that everyone knows today. The Warriors made a coaching change, hiring Steve Kerr, who allowed them to play at a faster pace and gave Curry free reign to shoot whenever. Golden State benefited mightily from this style of play, winning 67 games and finishing first in the Western Conference.
Curry averaged 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game while also breaking his own single-season threes record knocking down 286 shots from beyond the arc. In the playoffs, he broke the record for threes made in a single postseason en route to winning the Warriors their first NBA title in 40 years.
5. Game winner vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
We'll get to the entire 2015-16 season shortly, but this game against Oklahoma City was one of the biggest highlights of Curry's second MVP season. Curry posted 46 points and six assists while knocking down an at the time NBA single-game record tying 12 3-pointers in a victory over one of the league's best teams. With the game tied at 118 in overtime, no 3 he hit was bigger than the last one, as you will see below.
6. First unanimous MVP
The team-aspect of the 2015-16 season is coming in a moment, but Curry's hot streak from the 2014-15 season carried over quickly into 2015-16.
Steph opened the first three games of the season by scoring 40, 41 and 53 points, the most any player had scored in the first three games since Michael Jordan scored 118 points to start the 1989-90 season. He broke his own record for 3s in a season, again, but this time he converted 402 3-point field goals - a record that still holds to this day. Prior to this season, no one had ever touched 300 made 3s in a season.
He averaged a league-high 30.1 points and 2.1 steals to go along with 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game, earning him the first ever unanimous MVP award in NBA history.
7. 73-win season
The 2015-16 season was historic for the Warriors and it's not coincidence it happened during Curry's unanimous MVP season.
Riding Steph's hot streak to start the year, the Warriors set a league record when they won their first 24 games. They entered the All-Star break with 48 wins and only four losses, which was also another league record. On the very last night of the season they defeated the Memphis Grizzlies to secure their 73rd win, the most in a season in NBA history, surpassing the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96.
In the playoffs, they beat both the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers in five games. Trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, Curry scored 30, 31 and 36 points to lead a comeback as the Warriors won three-straight games to go to their second consecutive NBA Finals. In The Finals, they held a 3-1 lead over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but failed to close out the series eventually losing in Game 7 at home.
8. NBA record 13 3s in a game
On November 4, 2016, Curry snapped his streak of 157 games with a 3-pointer made when he shot 0-for-10 from beyond the arc against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The very next night, Steph broke what was then the record for 3s made in a game when he buried 13 shots from long range against the New Orleans Pelicans. Curry, Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall were all previously tied in history for 3s made in a game with 12, but Curry's 13th 3-ball that night inches him even closer to owning nearly every 3-point record the league has to offer. Scoring 46 on the night, his 13 makes came on 17 attempts from deep, shooting 76.5% from three.
His record for most 3s in a game would later be broken by his teammate Klay Thompson (14) in the 2018-19 season.
9. 2017 NBA Finals Game 5: 34 points vs. Cavaliers
After blowing a 3-1 lead in 2016, the NBA fans and media were all over Golden State all season long. With a 3-1 lead in the 2017 Finals, it was crucial that the Warriors closed out Game 5 at home to silence any opportunity for LeBron and Cavs to complete another comeback.
Curry stepped up to the task, finishing the game with 34 points and 10 assists on the night to secure the Warriors second championship in three years. Curry was not awarded with the Finals MVP due to the success that his newest teammate Kevin Durant had, but his 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game proved equally as vital in earning his second championship ring.
10. 2018 NBA Finals Game 2: Finals record nine 3s
Leading 1-0 in their fourth-straight Finals against the Cavaliers, Steph caught fire in Game 2 to lock down home court and take a promising 2-0 series lead.
After shooting 4-for-11 through the first three quarters of the game, Curry found his stroke in the fourth quarter burying all five of his 3-point attempts. In what was only a 10-point game going into the fourth was put completely out of reach when Steph got the hot hand. His fifth 3 of the quarter broke the Finals record for 3s made in a game with nine, and it gave the Warriors a 21-point lead to put away Cleveland in Game 2.
The Warriors went on to sweep Clevelad and Curry earned his third NBA championship ring.
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