Stephen Curry said he has never heard his father, Dell, sound quite like he did on the phone Thursday night.
“He’s not an emotional guy,” Curry said after learning he had been voted a starter in next month’s All-Star Game. “I could tell his voice was a little shaky. I could tell how proud he was.”
This was a huge day in the career of Curry, the former Davidson and Charlotte Christian star who now plays point guard for the Golden State Warriors. In addition to the All-Star selection, he was named one of 28 candidates in the pool to play for USA Basketball in the World Cup and Olympics.
Curry called Thursday’s announcements a “surreal” experience. He received more than a million votes from NBA fans, who select the starters. Seven reserves for each conference will later be selected by the league’s coaches.
Last year, when Curry hoped to be named a reserve, he received about 170,000 fan votes. What changed?
“The playoffs were huge and (the Warriors) have the best fan base in the league,” Curry said during a conference call with media. “Once they got a winning product, they do what they do.”
Curry attended various All-Star Games growing up when Dell – the former Charlotte Hornets/now Charlotte Bobcats broadcaster – participated in three-point contests. Stephen had also participated in the support events at All-Star Weekend the past few years, but this will be his first appearance in the game Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
Earlier in the day, during USA Basketball’s conference call to discuss the player pool, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged how badly he underestimated Curry’s potential out of high school
“If I was smart I would have (coached) Stephen a long time ago,” said Krzyzewski, who will again be men’s Team USA coach.
Krzyzewski’s regret – he later coached younger brother Seth Curry, who transferred to Duke from Liberty – is a common refrain among ACC coaches.
Curry said he first heard that from Maryland’s Gary Williams his freshman season at Davidson. He says he enjoys the compliment but doesn’t begrudge anyone for the limited recruiting he received in high school.
He said his unorthodox path to this point – not going to a major-college program, being critiqued entering the NBA draft, overcoming a series of ankle sprains – made Thursday’s validation all the more sweet.
“The game has been good to me,” Curry concluded. “I’m just enjoying the ride and trying not to look back.”
Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell