Stephen Curry just beat the NBA record for the most 3-pointers in a season and the most wins for a team. He’s officially the league’s most valuable player—but that’s not what’s important to him.
Stephen Curry grew up with a father in the NBA, but those aren’t the games that he remembers the most. They are the late nights in his backyard playing against his brother, Seth. It was what you’d expect for a couple of close brothers, a no-blood-no-foul-play-until-mom-says-stop kind of basketball. Once the sun was gone they’d turn to stage lights so they could keep playing late into the night.
Curry grew up in a very close family with a strong Christian background. His elementary school was run by his mother, his aunt was the teacher and his grandma was the cook. His parents are deeply rooted in the Gospel and his Wednesdays were spent in youth Bible studies and his Sundays were spent at the local church gatherings. From an early age, God was the center of this MVP’s life.
“I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I gave my life to Christ. I was in fourth grade, and I recall hearing and understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ and walking down the aisle to give my life to Him. My parents continued to pour into my faith from that point on, making sure I understood the commitment I’d just made.”
He went from a Christian elementary school run by his mother to another Christian school in Charlotte. His days were full of the Gospel and he was surrounded by influences pushing him toward Christ. As Curry likes to say, his childhood was “filled with the Lord’s presence.”
Growing up with a basketball attached to his hand turned basketball into a second nature for Curry, so much so that defeat was somewhat of a foreign concept. Then came college. His dream was to follow his dad and he really wanted to go to Virginia Tech, but they said no. He tried gaining interest from other ACC schools, but no one was interested in the skinny kid from North Carolina who was barely over six feet tall
“I was confident the Lord had blessed me with the talent to play the game, and I just wanted to go where He wanted me to be. That place became as clear as day to me once I met Bob McKillop, Davidson’s head coach.” McKillop was also a man of God who felt he could get Curry to where he wanted to be, but what attracted Curry more than his ability to coach was the added bonus that he was grounded in faith.
Curry ended up attending Davidson and quickly made a name for himself. While at the time he didn’t understand why God kept him from the major ACC schools that he wanted to attend, he was starting to see a little more of the massive plan God had for him.
“During our Cinderella run to the 2008 Elite Eight, I knew the Lord was preparing me for a bigger stage to represent and be a witness for Him on the basketball court. I remembered my mom telling me from day one at Davidson that God puts His people in different areas of life so that they can reach more people for Him. I tried to use that time for His glory.”
Then came 2009. Then came the NBA draft. Then came the seventh overall draft pick, Stephen Curry.
Four years later and Curry is still with the Warriors with the opportunity to play with Mark Jackson, a pastor and the team’s head coach. His faith is just as important to him today as it was when basketball meant street lights and backyards. He’s not slow to speak about what drives him on the court either.
“The Holy Spirit is moving through our locker room in a way I’ve never experienced before. It’s allowing us to reach a lot of people, and personally I am just trying to use this stage to share how God has been a blessing to my life and how He can be the same in everyone else’s.”
While Curry acknowledges that God has given him a gift and an ability, he still has to work at it. His training is gruesome and the work is never ending, but it’s what God has given him in this moment. At the end of the day, he’ll always have Jesus.
“I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is just a game that can be taken from me at any moment. But I love that basketball gives me the opportunities to do good things for people and to point them toward the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.”
This MVP just won the NBA championship, but it’s the trophy in heaven that drives him. It’s always nice to see someone in the spotlight turning the attention back to Christ.
“There’s more to me than just this jersey I wear, and that’s Christ living inside of me.”