The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Steph Curry

The 2021-22 NBA season was a long one for Stephen Curry, the great Golden State Warriors guard. He led his team to its fourth title in eight seasons and finally nabbed a Finals MVP award. In a career filled with highs, it had to be one of his best years. The MVP honor might have finally quieted those bitter corners of the internet where Curry's greatness is doubted. Also for him to celebrate: He finally graduated from Davidson College and was named Sports Illustrated's 2022 Sportsperson of the Year.

But outside basketball, Curry has experienced some serious lows — among them his connection to the FTX scandal. Along with other celebrities who've endorsed the cryptocurrency exchange, he is being investigated by the Texas State Securities Board, reported the Texas Tribune. There's also a class-action lawsuit in Florida that is seeking monetary damages based on the FTX collapse, per Variety. Curry might not have anyone else to blame but himself for that one, but he's also experienced a lot of tough moments in life that are beyond his control.

Curry was ignored as a college recruit

Believe it or not, there was a time when practically no one wanted Steph Curry on their team. Coming out of Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina, Curry was considered a three-star recruit. His 6-foot-1, 160-pound frame was considered too small for elite college programs, according to Yahoo! Sports. Nicknamed the Baby-Faced Assassin, he also looked much too young for his age (via Bleacher Report). Curry wanted to take after his father, former NBA standout Dell Curry, and attend his alma mater, Virginia Tech. The school was willing to take Steph as a walk-on, meaning he would have to sit out his first year. But Curry knew he could immediately prove his worth.

The one school that took a chance on Curry was the Southern Conference's Davidson College, whose coach was impressed by Curry's confidence, basketball acumen, and athleticism. Davidson's faith in Curry paid off, as he led the nation's freshman class in scoring, took his underdog team to the NCAA Tournament's regional final, and elevated the school's basketball program as a whole. After he left Davidson following his junior year, the Golden State Warriors drafted him as the seventh overall pick.

He missed the Olympics due to injury

For the 2012 Olympic Games, Steph Curry was ignored. Although he was part of the 2010 FIBA World Championship team, he didn't make the Olympic roster two years later, a slight that he called disappointing, per The Mercury News. But Curry would seemingly have plenty of chances at an Olympic medal in the following years.

In 2016, Curry's next chance to make an Olympics roster, he bowed out of consideration due to an MCL sprain, reported USA Today. In a statement, Curry said he would prioritize prepping for the 2016-17 NBA season instead.

Curry hasn't managed an Olympics appearance since. He turned down the opportunity again to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, per NBC Sports. In fact, after the Warriors' 2022 Finals win — featuring Curry's MVP title — coach Steve Kerr joked that Curry lacked only an Olympic medal to put him on par with the greats. During the Warriors' championship parade celebration, Curry announced his intention to join his coach at the 2024 Paris Olympics (via Warriors on NBCS), a declaration seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to his coach's ribbing.

Curry suffers from a rare genetic disease

During the latter half of the 2018-19 NBA season, Steph Curry was struggling with a shooting slump. In February, he managed only 51 three-pointers out of 135 attempts, a 37.8% rate, noted Sports Illustrated. His slide seemed to have started after the All-Star break — in nine games he hit only 38 three-pointers out of 115 attempts, a stark drop from his 46.5% post-break success rate in the previous nine seasons of his career, per The Athletic

But his production shifted dramatically in March, when in a nine-game stretch he made 51.4% of his three-pointers. Curry credited his dramatic improvement to the fact that after years of postponing the decision, he finally got contact lenses. So it turns out that Curry had cemented his shooting-legend status with blurry eyesight. He suffers from an eye condition called Keratoconus, a degenerative disease that causes increased blurry vision over time. Until 2019, Curry managed to squint his way to stardom, and then decided to address his vision problems. Curry hadn't realized how much his eyesight was lacking — afterward he believed that his new contacts directly led to an MVP-worthy stretch where he recorded the second-most three-pointers he's made since 2016.

His parents divorced

Throughout his basketball career, Steph Curry had the encouraging and heartwarming knowledge that his parents were sitting in the stands together cheering him on. Dell and Sonya Curry even became a fixture at Warriors games — TV cameras showed Dell Curry cheering while wearing a souvenir version of his son's jersey (via Bleacher Report). But that era sadly came to a close with their separation in 2021. In an interview with The Ringer, Steph called it challenging to see his parents' 33-year marriage end. 

Yet despite an inclination to be angry at his parents, Steph kept his cool. That graceful approach was witnessed by millions after Curry broke NBA legend Ray Allen's record to become the all-time leader in regular-season three-pointers made. His parents were in the house at Madison Square Garden to witness the historic achievement, which Curry had been urgently chasing. But as fans at home noticed (via Twitter), his parents were seated separately. Nevertheless, Curry embraced the moment and made sure to celebrate with each of his parents. After hugging his father near the team bench, he chased his mother into one of the stadium's tunnels to give her a hug, too.

People have doubted Curry's legacy

Even with four NBA championships and two league MVPs under his belt, critics hesitated to put Steph Curry on their all-time-greats lists. The main reason was his style of play, which seemed less imposing than the bullying brands of taller and more physically formidable players, said The Ringer. Curry's primary method of attack is to wear down defenses in a war of attrition and force them to attack his court-stretching skills. And when Curry led the Warriors to multiple championships, critics blamed weak defenses or praised Curry's teammates instead, per The New York Times.

In a June 2022 interview, general manager Bob Myers lamented that he and others still have to defend the star (via The Morning Roast). But then Curry won his fourth championship and finally earned the elusive Finals MVP award. Just like Tom Brady silenced critics when he won his seventh NFL championship, Curry seemed to do the same with his Finals MVP. Yet there's an upside to all the discontent: Curry is a fan favorite, and he believes the underdog nature of his game is why he seems relatable to the everyday guy, per GQ. Inability to jump highest or be the biggest might not garner favor with keyboard critics, but it will for those who buy souvenir jerseys.

Curry survived a scary car accident

On November 23, 2018, Steph Curry was in a harrowing crash in California involving three cars, ESPN reported. On that rainy day, a driver lost control of his car and slammed into Curry's black Porsche, detaching the front bumper. Curry parked by a median and waited for police to arrive, but as luck would have it, another car rear-ended the Porsche only 10 minutes later. Thankfully, no one was injured, and Curry updated his fans on his condition via Twitter. Consider Curry very fortunate — footage obtained by TMZ Sports revealed a crash worthy of a Nascar highlight.

Curry was due to report to the Warriors facility later that day, per ESPN. But he had been dealing with a groin injury and was not slated to play. After joking that Curry wouldn't miss the Porsche — since he probably has more — Coach Steve Kerr told reporters that Curry was a bit shaken up but doing well.

Curry's right ankle has deterred him for years

Steph Curry has a very long history with his right ankle. It has given him trouble since at least since 2010, noted Bleacher Report. In a game against the Spurs, Curry's ankle rolled, though he wasn't in contact with anyone on the floor. It caused him problems for the rest of the 2010-11 season and forced him to have surgery. The following season, Curry suffered an ankle sprain that made him miss about two weeks and undergo another operation. In 2013, he had to sit out several more games thanks to ankle rollings. Curry's injuries started evolving into a genuine threat to his career. He managed to play just 26 games in his third NBA season, and the $44 million contract he signed afterward was negotiated with the hope that his ankle wouldn't be a problem in the future, via ESPN. Even general manager Bob Myers was impressed by the oddly simple ways by which Curry's ankle was sprained, and others joked that his ankles were made of glass.

Curry began training differently, in order to take weight off his ankles. It was a success, but he has had occasional ankle trouble in the years following. In 2016, he missed a few playoff games due to his ankle, and in April 2022, he sprained a ligament in his left foot, causing him to miss the last few regular season games, per CBS.

Curry's wife has been bullied online

Ayesha Curry has seen her fair share of online bullying, and it has sometimes caused husband Steph to step in and defend her. In 2019, Ayesha made an appearance on Facebook's "Red Table Talk," where she discussed her marriage, along with other women of the Curry family. When talking about the issue of unwanted female attention toward their husbands, Ayesha said she had found it difficult that she received no male attention herself. Female admirers of Steph were an uncomfortable topic, but Ayesha said she would find that situation more tolerable if she had her own admirers. It was a vulnerable moment that perhaps some insecure mothers could relate to, but she immediately garnered criticism. Internet users ridiculed her and painted her desire for attention as selfish, per Buzzfeed News. She responded on Instagram by sticking to her comments, and Steph posted words of support on an Instagram story while taking a shot at her critics (via Us Weekly).

More bullying came Ayesha's way when she posted a photo of herself and Steph on Instagram. The photo featured a blonde Ayesha, whose face looked slightly different than usual. (She confirmed in the comments that she had used a filter.) Disparaging comments accused her of trying to appear as a white woman. In retaliation, some followers showed their support, and among them was Steph, who encouraged Ayesha to ignore the haters.

Curry was devastated by his friend's death

In April 2019, rapper Nipsey Hussle was killed in a shooting in Los Angeles, AP News reported. He was just 33 years old. A year prior, Hussle appeared on Steph Curry's YouTube show "5 Minutes From Home." They had an intimate conversation about fatherhood, Hussle's creative process, entrepreneurship, and misogyny in rap culture as they cruised in a car and grabbed a bite to eat. One of the more heartfelt moments of the episode came when Hussle acknowledged that becoming a father was the best decision he'd made. He added that it was important for him to share his passion for music with his kids so that they would be inspired to pursue whatever they wanted in life.

Curry noted that Hussle's tragic death cut short efforts Hussle was making within his community, via CNN. Curry also posted a tribute to the rapper on Instagram, along with a photo from their interview together. In 2021, Curry released a Nipsey-dedicated episode on his podcast "15 Minutes From Home" which featured a never-before-heard conversation with the rapper, originally taped for the YouTube show. In the extended interview, Hussle discussed his long road to success as an artist and compared his journey to Curry's (via HypeBeast).

Curry struggled with a shooting slump

During the 2021-22 NBA season, Steph Curry suffered through a drastic shooting slump. Although he was passing effectively, Curry was putting up the worst shooting record in his career. From a slump that began in November 2021 and stretched to January, Curry made only 36.7% of his shots, reported The Mercury News. After a two-game stint against Dallas and Miami where he made only eight of 41 field goals (via ESPN), Curry downplayed his struggles to reporters and said he wasn't trying to overreact (via Twitter). But the numbers didn't lie, and even coach Steve Kerr had to chime in, once blaming it on exhaustion and later voicing faith that Curry would overcome it, per CBS News.

Briefly, it seemed that Curry found the source of his troubles and was about to revert to his old form. According to The Athletic, Curry realized, thanks to a sudden epiphany, that the way he planted his feet was the problem, and he quickly improved his technique. His shooting got a brief boost, but his struggles returned days later. Despite the concerns, he stayed in the running for the league's MVP title, the Warriors had one of the league's best offenses (per USA Today), and the team went on to win the 2022 Finals.

Curry failed to impress his NBA hero

In August 2022, Steph Curry revealed that he views NBA legend Michael Jordan as a role model. He watched the documentary "The Last Dance" and admired how Jordan wouldn't ask his teammates and those around him to do anything he himself couldn't do. Curry said in an interview that he's tried to emulate this leadership approach with his own team (via Twitter). Jordan's words carry a lot of weight, with fans and players. So it was tough for Curry to learn that Jordan didn't think of him as a Hall of Famer. In a 2019 interview on "Today," Jordan listed players who'd be on the roster of his ideal pickup game, and Curry was notably snubbed. Although Jordan called Curry a great player — and said Curry shouldn't be offended that he was left off the imaginary team — the legend said Curry didn't have what it takes to be in the Hall of Fame ... yet. Jordan left open the possibility that Curry would eventually get there.

But Curry, ever confident in his own abilities, waved off Jordan's comments, per SiriusXM NBA Radio. Curry said that he wondered if Jordan misspoke, adding that if Jordan had been asked about Curry's talent years later, his answer would've been a lot different. The issue was finally settled in 2021 when Curry spoke with Jordan at golf's Ryder Cup event. Curry told The Athletic that Jordan called him a clear first-ballot Hall of Famer, via NBC Sports.

Curry has been accused of ruining basketball

The most fascinating critique of Steph Curry goes to the heart of his legacy — the claim is that his game-changing style of play has ruined basketball. Curry has built his career on his long-distance shooting, and he's now considered one of the greatest at it. In December 2021, he broke the NBA's three-point record by hitting from deep for the 2,977th time, reported Sports Illustrated, but that only further frustrated some critics, many of whom are older viewers of the game. Curry has weaponized shooting in a way no one had before, and his highlights don't show his dedication to other fundamentals. He's also reluctant to dunk — the bread and butter for some NBA greats. Most of the criticism comes down to an accusation of bad role modeling: Younger athletes are taking wilder shots, believing they can get away with it. But not everyone is Steph Curry.

Even his former Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Curry has hurt basketball, in a way. Jackson lamented the fact that kids in high school have started to prioritize three-pointers over a more well-rounded skill set, even though Curry is quite well-rounded himself. Curry told The Athletic that he's put in years of work to establish his style, and he urged younger players to respect the process. But Curry, ever the good sport, has been nonchalant about the criticism. He told Los Angeles Magazine that bad blood was inevitable, especially for someone who has upended the way the game has been played.