The 5’5” skinny kid was dribbling the ball across the half-court line. Then his 6’4” dad showed up just in front of him. As they went through it hundreds of times in drills, the kid with #12 on his uniform didn’t hesitate for a second – he just launched that triple, and hit the goal from an NBA distance! The father was Toronto Raptors sharpshooter Dell Curry and the kid, the future NBA MVP Steph Curry!
The new millennium had just begun, and the Queensway Christian College Saints (Etobicoke, Toronto) basketball varsity was testing its strengths and weaknesses in an exhibition game vs. school staff. The school staff squad featured the Raptors shooting specialist, 1994 NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Dell Curry.
Before Dell Curry enlisted his sons Steph and Seth Curry to the Queensway Christian College, the school was not known for its basketball program and varsity.
“We were the biggest rag-tag group of people ever. We were flat out terrible. We were not a basketball school.”Casey Field, TheStar.com
But during Curry brothers’ tenure in the city of Toronto, thanks to their father 1999-2002 stint with the Raptors, they’ve upgraded the school’s basketball image. In 2001-02 the Curry brothers led the team coached by history teacher James Lackey from obscurity to being undefeated for the season!
While Seth was busy distributing the ball, Steph was unstoppable, hitting nothing but net whenever he wanted. From the early on, it was evident that it wasn’t just this ‘like father like son’ thing.
“He was this tiny little guy, but when we put him on the court, he was just unbelievable. He was scoring 40 points, 50 points a game, no problem. No one even came close to us that year.”James Lackey, TheStar.com
You could see that this kid was flat out special. Sure, he got his father shot but with significant efficiency for his age. Moreover, he could create opportunities for his teammates whenever the defense converged on him, double, or even triple-teaming him. He could already sense it.
“As soon as you got the ball in his hands, the things he could do with it. It was just like an extension of him. I’ve never seen somebody more natural. Just ridiculous plays. Unbelievable passer, too. Behind-the-back pass across the key through two defenders, and he’d put it right in your hands.”James Lackey, TheStar.com
With the undefeated season on the line in closing minutes of the championship game against Hillcrest Jr. Public School, Steph showed tremendous character and came up huge. With his Saints down eight points, about a minute and a half before the final buzzer, Curry demanded the ball in his hands and then stepped in vigorously, delivering nothing short of a miracle!
In the rarely seen turnaround, at any level of basketball, Curry connected an unbelievable three triples. His teammate Casey Field added another one for their team’s 13-0 run en route to an impressive win!
The player whom his school teammates and coach remember as quiet and soft-spoken had left an indelible trace in Canadian hoops, which was the very beginning of his path to basketball greatness.
“People talk about the basketball side a lot, but what for me stood out was that he was just a really down-to-earth, humble guy. He did not have any big head about it, even though he was clearly the best player in Ontario at the time.”Casey Field, TheStar.com
That’s still the most underappreciated quality about Steph Curry. Steve Kerr points it out constantly – he is one of the humblest superstars in the history of the game. That’s the secret behind many Warriors wins.