OAKLAND – Stephen Curry’s monster season on the court is why he’s walking away with the 2014-15 NBA MVP Award, presented to him on Monday in Oakland.
The 27-year-old point guard finished the regular season sixth in the league in scoring, sixth in assists, and converted the most three-pointers in a single season in league history with 286, breaking his own mark.
At a press conference at the Oakland Marriott, Curry’s teammates, head coach and general manager all made sure to praise their star player for what he’s been able to accomplish on the floor in leading his team to an NBA-best 67 wins. At the same time, they all tended to focus more on the man and leader Curry has become, rather than the player he is.
The highlight reel buckets, the speed at which he can bring the ball up the court, and the long range threes are great, but there’s much more to Curry’s story than just his stat line.
General manager Bob Myers, who was honored himself recently as the NBA’s Executive of the Year, told a story about how he sat with Curry four years ago when ankle problems were threatening to derail the youngster’s career.
“It doesn't take long after meeting him to know that he's a special person,” Myers said. “I remember thinking that day, this can't be how his career goes.”
It got better, and the rest is now history.
Myers said: “I know everyone watching and everyone here, you all know what he can do on the basketball court, but to be honest you're missing the best part of him. If that's all you know, I don't need to talk about anything he does there. But I do think he deserves to be spoken of as a person, because it is unique.”
Steve Kerr compared Curry to a couple of superstars he’s crossed paths with in his career – Tim Duncan, a teammate in San Antonio, and Steve Nash, the former MVP guard for the Phoenix Suns when Kerr was the general manager there.
Like Myers, though, Kerr pointed to more than just Curry’s playing ability.
“Steph is so quiet and humble away from the court, and to me that is the most powerful form of leadership,” Kerr said. “Those guys I mentioned had that, and it carries over to the locker room, and it carries over to these guys. We have an entire team full of players who are confident, and other than Draymond [Green], very quiet, but very much believing in each other and the process and the team.
“Steph embodies all of that. He makes it easy for all of us to buy into this idea that we can do this together, and we can achieve great things together.”
Curry spoke for more than 30 minutes when he accepted the trophy, and teared up at one point when discussing his family, and particularly his father, Dell.
“To be able to follow in your footsteps, it means a lot to me,” Curry said, after regaining his composure.
He also took the time to look each one of his teammates in the eye, and express his thanks and gratitude for what they’ve done for the team, for him personally, and what they hope to accomplish together in the following weeks. He started with Leandro Barbosa, and went all the way around to James Michael McAdoo and Ognjen Kuzmic, who spent most of the season in the development league in Santa Cruz.
It was a stunning display, and encapsulated everything that the preceding speakers said about the NBA’s best player this season.
Green said: “Picture the model citizen. However you want the model citizen to be, that’s Steph.”