North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.
The son of NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, Stephen wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by playing for Virginia Tech after a standout high school career in which he earned all-state honors while leading Charlotte Christian to three conference titles. But because of his frail-looking 6-foot-3 frame, Hokies coach Seth Greenberg only offered him a walk-on opportunity.
He ended up accepting a scholarship to Davidson and scored 32 points against Michigan in his second college game. He finished college as the all-time leading scorer at both his school and the Southern Conference, twice earning league Player of the Year honors.
Curry set an NCAA single-season record for 3-pointers as a sophomore, a season in which he burst into the national consciousness by leading the Wildcats to within two points of a trip to the Final Four. He scored 30 or more points in each of his first four tournament games and added 25 against Kansas in the Elite Eight. Even though the Jayhawks won 59‑57, his performance earned him an ESPY nomination as the 2008 Breakthrough Player of the Year.
He stayed at Davidson one more season, leading the nation in scoring at 28.6 points per game, before the Golden State Warriors made him the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft. Over the first 10 seasons of his professional career, the charismatic 32-year-old has become one of the best, most popular players in the league.
Considered by some to be the greatest pure shooter in NBA history, his proficiency behind the 3-point arc helped change the offensive philosophy of many of the league’s teams.
Although he’s not close to being done, his resume is already Hall of Fame-worthy. He’s a two-time NBA MVP, winning the award unanimously in 2016. He’s a six-time All-Star, three-time first-team All-NBA pick and the 2015 Associated Press Athlete of the Year after leading the league in both scoring and steals while guiding the Warriors to the first of their three NBA championships in the last decade.
In addition to his success on the court, Curry has become a noted entrepreneur who is active with numerous charities. An avid golfer, he used his fame and fortune to help promote minority participation in the sport in 2019 by endowing full scholarships for the newly formed Howard University men’s and women’s golf teams for the next six years.
“He’s just a decent human being, such a nice player,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry in 2018. “He’s obviously a superstar player, but he acts like he’s the 12th man.”