Deen Haleem ‘21
Men’s Basketball Correspondent
The story is a cliché: local kid grows up, becomes a superstar, and forgets where he came from. In the NBA, this narrative has become so common that rare players like LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan are idolized for “staying loyal” to their homes in Akron, OH and Compton, CA. On the surface, it seems natural that players like DeRozan and James should be exceptions. After all, making it to the NBA is a one in a million achievement, and therefore requires that NBA hopefuls believe that among countless millions, they’re the one.
Davidson’s own Steph Curry poses an even greater exception as the average sized guy in a giant’s league. Unlike DeRozan and James, Curry isn’t 6’7”, wasn’t a top-tier high school recruit, and didn’t have colleges clamoring for him to wear their colors. His belief in himself wasn’t buoyed by the high expectations of the basketball world; it was cultivated when everything in his life told him to give up, finish your degree, and get a real job. For years of his life, Curry grinded in relative obscurity, putting up shots when everyone else was asleep and believing that he was more than what the world said he was. Given this mindset, it seems natural that Curry would be situated in the camp of NBA players that move on with their life once they make it to the league; especially after getting two MVPs, three championship rings, and binder’s worth of records. However, as we all know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In his NBA career, Curry has gone out of his way to help Davidson. He has contributed financially to the school’s facilities and mission, stayed after each Davidson game he attends to sign everything from napkins to $110 jerseys, and even checked in on the basketball team to offer them some of his wisdom after the game.
At Davidson’s home game on February 15th against St. Joe’s, Curry brought his old warm up jersey to compare with the team’s new gear. He showed them the difference and told them to remember how far the program has come, and to remember that every game they put on the jersey they have a chance to advance it further. According to Team Manager Albert Zhu ’21, “He brings an energy and passion unlike any superstar…There’s nothing fake about his actions.”
At that same game, the team wore limited addition black jersey’s with neon trim inspired by Curry’s new “Ruin the Game” Under Armor line. Curry’s commitment to the college made those jerseys a reality.
In a world saturated by images and filled with celebrities who say one thing and do another, a genuine star like Curry is rare. Even as a fan at the Davidson-St. Joe’s game, Curry wasn’t too cool to cheer loudly with the crowd. He wasn’t scared to jump in the air as Jon Axel Gudmundsson ‘20 and KiShawn Pritchett ‘20 rained in 3s and set up shots for their teammates. And most of all, he was all smiles as he jumped into the crowd after the game to celebrate the win with Section 30.
Instead of sticking to his brand or trying to be the coolest guy in the room, he had fun and stayed true to him; a rare accomplishment in a world where it’s all too easy to seem like anyone. I think, above all else, this is the coolest thing about Curry coming back every year. He’s not stuck in the past, trying to relive his glory days like some forlorn high school class president. He comes back because he, “love[s] Davidson with all [his] heart,” and that love has endured through all the money, fame, and success. As grind weeks approach, Curry reminds us that there is something really special about this place. Something that makes it worth coming back.