NEW YORK — Stephen Curry has shot his way to the top of the NBA record book for 3-pointers.
Curry hit his 2,974th 3-pointer Tuesday night in the first quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ game against the New York Knicks, breaking the record set by Ray Allen.
Curry hit the shot from the right wing with 7:33 remaining, waving his arms toward the sky as he jogged backward down the court. The Warriors then committed a foul and quickly called timeout to let the celebration begin.
Curry went and embraced his father, Dell Curry, who was seated along a baseline, while Bob McKillop, his coach at Davidson, stood in the stands and beamed alongside Larry Riley, who drafted Curry for the Warriors. Then came a hug from Warriors teammate Draymond Green among others and, finally, Curry trotted back across the court for a long embrace and a few congratulatory words from Allen.
Curry is often considered the league’s greatest shooter, and the numbers back him up. He already owns two of the top three seasons for 3-pointers — including the only season with 400 3s — and now has the career record Allen had held since passing Reggie Miller in 2011.
During a postgame interview with TNT, Miller, standing next to Allen, presented Curry with a Warriors jersey with the number 2,974 on the back.
“I’ve been thinking about this number for a long time. I’ve even got it on my shoes,” Curry said on TNT. “Basketball history. This is pretty special. These two, legends. I watched them growing up and understood what it meant to shoot the ball because of them and my dad. Full-circle moment, man. I’m blessed. Blessed, for sure.”
The record came at Madison Square Garden, where Curry had one of his early-career highlights on Feb. 27, 2013, when he made 11 3-pointers and scored 54 points. He’s gone on to win two MVP awards and three championships while becoming one of the biggest, most popular stars in the game.
“I think fans are attracted to him just because of his humility and his story and how hard he’s had to work, so from that standpoint it transcends sports somewhat,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said before the game.
Curry had been far from his best beyond the arc to start this road trip, going 3 for 14 in Philadelphia and then 5 for 15 in Indiana. But with his ability to go from slumping to surging in a hurry, Kerr predicted a breakout would be coming soon.
It came quickly Tuesday. Curry hit from straightaway on his first attempt, and fans around the arena stood as he was dribbling the ball across center court on the next possession. He launched an ugly attempt that he missed.
The record-breaker came on his next shot and was vintage Curry. He gave the ball up and eventually raced back to the outside, getting the ball back and seemingly launching it in the same motion before a defender could get out to him.
It’s that quick shot — whether after catching it or on the dribble — and the ability to release from so far behind the arc that’s made him a shooter unlike any before him.
“He’s the best shooter I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s clear he is the best catch-and-shoot player,” former Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki said. “But where he’s so good is off the dribble, and I think that’s something that he added, the quick 3 off the dribble. It’s one motion and his shot is gone.”
None of Curry’s stardom was guaranteed when he entered the league in 2009 as the No. 7 pick from Davidson, far from one of the basketball powerhouses that usually produce the top players.
But with perhaps an unmatched combination of dribbling and shooting accuracy, he led a long-distance revolution that has turned the 3-pointer from an afterthought in NBA offenses into a weapon. He has led the league in 3-pointers six times and is well on his way to a seventh for a resurgent Warriors team that again has the league’s best record.
And Curry could put the record well out of reach at his current pace: He entered the night making 5.4 3-pointers per game this season, best of his career.
Curry, 33, is in his 789th game, with perhaps a few more seasons at the top. At the same point in his career, Allen had 1,918 3s.