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The Baby-Faced Assassin

"Something or someone has blessed him with a golden touch."
Jim Barnett, color commentator for the Golden State Warriors

Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry IInote  (born March 14, 1988) is an NBA guard for the Golden State Warriors. The son of former 3-point specialist Dell Curry, he holds both the NCAA and NBA records for 3-pointers made in a season, as well as the NBA record for three-point shots made of all-time. Curry has led the Warriors, a long-suffering franchise before his arrival, to four NBA championship titles (2015, '17, '18, '22) and helped them set the single-season wins record with 73 in 2015-16. Individually, he was named NBA MVP in '15 and '16 (becoming the first ever unanimous winner in the latter season after leading the NBA in points and steals) and the NBA Finals MVP in '22.

Son of former NBA guard, '94 Sixth Man of the Year, and current Charlotte commentator Dell Curry, Steph first drew national attention in college as a 3-point specialist who led small Davidson College to the NCAA Elite 8 in 2008 and led the NCAA in scoring the following year. The Warriors drafted the point guard #7 overall in 2009. Early-career ankle injuries led many to consider him another bust for the hapless Warriors, but starting in 2012, Curry's career took off on a remarkable upward trajectory. Initially labelled an "undersized" shooting guard, he established himself as an accurate and creative passer, talented ball-handler, and even capable defender. However, it was his shooting that drew the most accolades, and he is now widely considered the best shooter in basketball history. He broke the single-season three-point shooting record in 2013 and set a new one in each of the next three seasons, using a combination of quick release and improbable range.

During that run, Curry became the first NBA player to sign a "supermax" contract worth over $200 million. Still in the prime of his career, Curry sits on a short list of contenders to the title of "best player in the league"; though he missed most of the 2019–20 season to a broken wrist, he surged past the career three-pointer record the following year while claiming another scoring title and took the Warriors to a fourth championship in the next, winning his first Finals MVP.

Steph's unique combination of scoring volume and shooting efficiency is the stuff of which basketball analysts' fantasies are made. The simplest way to explain his domination of the 3-point line is a single number. Before Curry, the record for three-point makes in a single season was held by legendary shooter Ray Allen, who hit an incredible 269 shots from deep. As of 2023, Curry's record is 402. He has also led the league in made three-pointers in seven seasons (only Ray Allen and James Harden have even done so thrice) and has the mundane but no less valuable distinction of being the NBA's all-time career leader in free throw percentage. His playstyle has effectively changed how basketball is played at the NBA level, making the three-pointer be viewed as an increasingly integral part of the standard offense throughout the 2010s.

Steph's younger brother Seth has been a journeyman in the NBA and G-League since 2013; while not as versatile or prolific as his brother, he shares his family's long-range accuracy.

In addition to basketball, he's a keen golfer and is the resident golf pro on Holey Moley, which he also executive produces. Curry also provided the startup funding (six years' worth!) for new men's and women's golf programs at Howard University, a historically black institution in Washington, D.C.; the new teams began play in 2020–21. He is featured on the cover of NBA 2K 16

Tropes associated with Stephen Curry:

  • The Ace: After shattering the record for three-pointers made in a season, and then shattering that record, and then shattering the original record again, he is known around the NBA by fans, players, coaches, and analysts as the best shooter of all time, and definitely the best three-point shooter ever. He's also The Ace with regards to his own time; he's the only player to ever win the NBA's Most Valuable Player in unanimous fashion.
  • Always Someone Better: The idea of this is perceived by former teammate Kevin Durant when compared to Curry due to multiple circumstances at hand. During Durant's final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, despite surprisingly leading the 2016 Western Conference Finals series 3-1 over Curry and the 73-9 Warriors, Curry and the rest of the team showcased why they had the record that they had in beating the Thunder soundly in the final three games of the series. Then when Durant was a free agent after that season ended, Durant decided to join the already stacked Warriors team due to him wanting to be better than LeBron James, another player that can be considered better than him. Despite winning two straight championships with Golden State and being named NBA Finals MVPs in those series of events, Durant had an ugly moment in 2019 leading to him leaving the Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets to create his own superteam and proving he didn't truly need them to win. However, with Curry and the Warriors winning another championship in 2022, it's making Durant's desires look almost foolish by comparison. Made worse by the fact the Warriors defeated the Jayson Tatum Celtics in the 2022 Finals, the same Celtics team that swept Durant’s Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Though recently, Durant has joined the division rivaling Phoenix Suns by being either a de facto leader or coinciding leader with Devin Booker and/or Chris Paul (depending on perspective or circumstances in mind) in order to try and end that idea against him that Curry was always someone better by comparison.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • LeBron James. The rivalry practically writes itself. As if it's not enough that Curry's Warriors and James' Cavaliers are the only two teams in NBA history to meet in four consecutive Finals series (no other pair of teams has done it more than twice), James and Curry are almost the complete antithesis of one another as players. Curry is a masterful shooter who, by NBA standards, is nothing special physically and relies on scoring from the outside. LeBron is arguably the most physically gifted NBA player of all time who scores primarily at the rim. The two get bonus rivalry points for the fact that they were born in the same hospital 3 years apart, Curry to a millionaire NBA player father and LeBron to a single mom on public assistance; the difference is almost comic book-like. Even when James went to Los Angeles with the Lakers, the two still had a rivalry when the two teams met in the Play-In Tournament in 2021, with Curry and the Warriors not just losing that close match against the Lakers, but also later missing the playoffs entirely that year after an upset loss to the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot that year in overtime.
    • With James Harden who might be potentially Curry’s most frequent rival back when Harden was in the Western Conference. The rivalry started in the 2014-15 season in which both men were MVP contenders that Curry won out on. In that season’s Western Conference Finals between Curry’s Warriors and Harden’s Rockets, Harden made a vow to show who the real MVP was. The Rockets would lose in five games, one of which was lost because of a great defensive play made by Curry on Harden in the closing minutes. Harden’s Rockets would meet Curry’s Warriors three more times in the playoffs, one was a 2nd WCF meeting, only for the Warriors to win each time. It would be the 2019 Semifinals that would be the dagger in that series. The Warriors roster was highly shredded with key players out including Kevin Durant and Draymond Green going against a healthy Rockets team and still managed to win the series in six games thanks in large part to Curry preforming big in Game 6. With Harden being traded to the Brooklyn Nets and then the Philadelphia 76ers in January 2021 and February 2022 respectively, however, it’s likely the rivalry will be put to rest (or at least not be highlighted as much) outside of potential rivalries in upcoming All-Star Games or even the NBA Finals if they meet there.
  • Bash Brothers: Or more accurately, Splash Brothers with Klay Thompson. The duo is considered a threat beyond the arc, especially with Curry's potency in mind.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • During the 2022–23 college basketball season, Iowa superstar guard Caitlin Clark was increasingly seen as this to Steph, due mainly to a playing style eerily similar to Steph's—including three-pointers from the logo. Even more so in 2023–24, with Clark setting a single-season NCAA Division I record for threesnote  and the all-time D-I career scoring record.note  This YouTube mixtape of Clark highlights from 2022–23 even splices in a brief intro from Steph himself.
    • After Sabrina Ionescu destroyed the field in the WNBA's All-Star three-point shootout in 2023, sinking 25 of her 27 shots in the final round for a record total of 37 points,note  she challenged Steph to a three-point shootout, staking her own claim to being this trope. Steph raised the challenge again when he was miked up during a January 2024 game, Sabrina accepted, and the shootout was set for the 2024 NBA All-Star weekend, with Steph winning.note 
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: Variation — although he has won 3 championships with the Warriors between 2015 and 2019, his performance was always overshadowed by someone else. In 2015, it was Andre Iguodala, and in 2017-2018, it was Kevin Durant. Not only that: in the two years that the Warriors lost in the Finals, it was Curry's missed threes in the dying minutes of the final game that cost the team.
    • Finally averted in the 2022 NBA Finals where Curry gave off a fantastic performance in Game 4 where he scored 42 points on a bad foot and had another strong performance to close out Game 6, earning him his first Finals MVP award.
  • Game-Breaker: Very few players have single-handedly changed the game of basketball, and Curry is undoubtedly one. His unprecedented limitless range and accuracy forced entire organizations to embrace the three point shot more readily just to keep up with Steph's Warriors (since the math does not favor trading two points with the Warriors' three pointers) and players began to purposefully train to shoot from around the logo like Curry, a shot that prior to Steph would've got someone benched for being selfish. Even NBA 2K nerfed digital Curry from his real-life accuracy, noting that a perfect replication would cause online players to simply pick Steph and chuck at will. To wit, in 2010, the season Curry debuted, teams averaged 18 three-point shots a game; by the end of the 2021 season, teams averaged 34 three-point shots a game. This is referenced by UrinatingTree in 2018, where he said Steph can "enable cheat codes and rain 3s on a team".
  • Handicapped Badass: Those MVP awards and all those 3-point records he's broken? Turns out he did all of that with less-than-stellar eyesight. And it wasn't until 2019 he started wearing contacts.
  • Hidden Depths: He's renowned for his shooting and is primarily known, rightfully, as a three-point specialist. Go deeper, however, and he proves to be amazing at making shots at the rim as well, and his ball-handling is incredible. He's definitely not just a three-point shooter.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: As a shooter (and especially a three-point shooter), he has the ability to consistently make shots that no other player in NBA history could. He's shown that he has the range to make shots from up to half-court (47 feet) regularly, and will routinely take (and make) jumpers that would get other players benched because of the degree of difficulty. In that sense, it's no wonder why he has the all-time record for three-pointers made with over 3,000 of them going in while in the NBA.
  • Inspirational Insult: Curry led an entire team who fit this trope in 2016. In the year prior, the Golden State Warriors won the championship against arguably weak and/or hobbled opponents in the playoffs. When the team was slighted for this by fans and the media, and accused of being overrated, they came out the next season like a house of fire. The Warriors won their first 24 games (being led by assistant temporarily turned interim head coach Luke Walton at the time due to head coach Steve Kerr taking an indefinite leave of absence (ending January 22, 2016) due to a seriously hurt back early in the season), an NBA record, and finished the season with 73 wins, also an NBA record (and one that many thought was unbreakable). Unfortunately, they faltered in the Finals with a 3-games-to-1 lead (ironically after coming back from a 3-games-to-1 scenario in the Western Conference Finals that same year against the Oklahoma City Thunder) and lost the championship to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Like Father, Like Son: His father Dell was an accomplished NBA player in his own right, with a similar build and the same talent for making three-pointers.
  • Middle Name Basis: Goes by this rather than his first name, Wardell.
  • Oral Fixation: Whenever the ball isn't rolling, you can bet Curry will be chewing on his mouth guard. Even his digital version does so.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Has been on both the giving and receiving end of this trope. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are amazing basketball players, but next to Curry, they are perhaps underrated and/or underappreciated. Thompson, for example, is one of the best shooters of all time, but thanks to Curry, Klay isn't even the best shooter on his own team. So much so, in fact, that some people believe Klay was robbed of a spot on the NBA 75 when they announced the honor at hand.
    • However, when Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors, Durant quickly became the consensus best player on the team (if not the entire NBA at the time), stealing the spotlight after Stephen Curry won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards (not to say that Curry minds at all, especially with Golden State having won titles in both of KD's first two seasons with the Dubs).
  • Red Baron: He's nicknamed "The Baby-Faced Assassin"; he'd probably still get carded at bars if he wasn't world famous, but he is cold-blooded on the court and his skillset makes him extremely fearsome for opponents.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Draymond Green's red. Curry can trash talk when he wants to, but he's somewhat chill on the court for the most part, whereas Green yells and screams at opponents, referees, and even his own teammates on a regular basis. Although, as perpetually fired up as Draymond is, a lot of players would be blue in relation to him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the 2015-16 season, Curry became the first player in NBA history to receive unanimous votes in favor of being the MVP in the NBA due to the Warriors' record-breaking 73-9 finish to the regular season. Considering not even Michael Jordan or LeBron James ever won MVP awards unanimously, this could easily be seen as his first moment of upgrading his badass levels.
    • After being bounced out of the playoffs in two pandemic-shortened seasons*, Curry and the Warriors became this entering the 2021-22 season after people thought their glory days were over with. Entering that season, Curry became the quickest player to hit 100 three-pointers in a season and later became the all-time leader in three-point scoring in the process, to the point of being the first NBA player to ever reach 3,000 threes made in the NBA. As a result, the Warriors regained their credibility as a threat in the Western Conference and the NBA as a whole... all while the team was playing without James Wiseman and Klay Thompson being in action early on! Curry also earned the All-Star MVP honors for that season with 50 points scored off of a record-high 16 three-pointers made in that game. They would go on to win the 2022 NBA Finals with Curry finally winning his first Finals MVP.