Two weeks into his college career at Davidson, Stephen Curry left a house party — alcohol in hand — to chase some girl.
He landed at another spot, where shortly after his arrival, the police made a surprise visit. Curry was slapped with an alcohol citation, which required a trip to the county courthouse and a lawyer to get expunged.
See, Curry isn't perfect after all.
Sometimes, it's hard to tell. The Warriors rookie's groomed personality, his smooth style of play, his Huxtable life story — all of it gives him a pristine glow. He's even teased for his perfect image.
Curry has manners and respect for others. He speaks well and has a clean-and-inviting look. He's gracious and thankful — good qualities that can be attributed to many people.
Combine them with a skill set and basketball IQ that draw comparisons to Hall of Fame-bound guard Steve Nash, however, and Curry becomes a basketball golden boy. In a league reputed for its knuckleheads and divas, Curry stands out like Dick Vitale at a silent protest.
So becomes the Curry challenge: embracing the aura of perfection and trying to live up to the standard.
"It's awkward at times, especially being the new guy," he said. "Personally, it makes me feel kind of on edge a little bit, people liking me and supporting me right off the bat. I do like it, though. It means I'm doing things the right way."
Curry does have elements that suggest he's Mr. Perfect. He comes from money — his dad is former NBA player Dell Curry — and now he makes millions of his own. Stephen has boyishly handsome looks and a girlfriend who's a budding actress. He had a storybook college career, and his following has increased in the NBA, where he landed in a up-tempo system perfect for his game.
His small-college background and lack of extraordinary athleticism also have given him the benefit of being viewed as a bit of an underdog.
But those who know Curry beyond his public persona see a regular dude. He plays video games for hours. He chauffeurs less heralded teammates to and from practice. He wears Levi's. He smiles and accepts his rookie hazing in fun.
"If you were just a random person who didn't know anything about sports and you came and met him, you would just think he was some random normal kid," Warriors forward Anthony Tolliver said. "He doesn't have any arrogance or anything about him. About as normal as a player of his stature can be."
Perhaps it makes sense that Curry turned out this way. Dell Curry played 16 seasons in the NBA, so Stephen Curry's childhood didn't include the deprivation and hardship common among NBA players. He hasn't been hardened. He isn't jaded.
His mom, Sonya, made sure the spoils didn't go to the heads of any of her three children heads. Well-versed in the NBA lifestyle, she did all she could to lay the foundation.
"My wife did most of it," Dell Curry said.
Stephen, the oldest of three children, describes her as "the ultimate, strong, motherly figure. No doubt she made it clear what it was going to take to be a good person and successful, and I'm pretty sure that came from my dad's mistakes."
Curry had a curfew to match his grade level throughout high school (9 p.m. as a freshman, and so on), was forbidden from hanging out with adolescent riffraff, and was a regular attendee at church.
Curry often made up an excuse for not going to parties thrown by high school teammates, because it wasn't cool to say, "My momma won't let me." If he wanted to hang out with a young woman, his parents had to meet her parents before it was possible.
So despite having the world at his fingertips, it makes sense that Curry has some perspective. Even when it comes to the NBA, he's got experience from which to draw.
Curry has been around the NBA since he was 5 years old. So he has seen and heard some things and witnessed how his father handled them.
"You don't raise a kid like that unless everything is strong at home," said Ray Anderson, an elder at the Curry family's home church in Charlotte, N.C. "We're blessed and excited. To see somebody come along of his caliber of a person, with his background, and what he's got going for him, we can just sit back and revel."
Charlotte is also reveling. Curry's first game in his hometown, on March 6 when the Warriors played the Bobcats, was nothing short of a lovefest. Curry wound up with about 300 friends and family in attendance, and several members of the local media literally lined up to hug him.
Davidson College is delighting in Curry's success, too. At just about every Warriors road game, somebody sporting Curry's college jersey can be found. Just mention Curry to someone from Davidson, and the individual will gush with praise.
The day after the Warriors played at Charlotte, some students were sitting outside The Soda Shop, a popular eating spot on the Davidson campus, trading Curry experiences. One shared the story of Curry at a vending machine.
"The machine took his money but nothing came out," he said. "He walked away and when I got to the machine, it came out. I think it was some chips. I looked back at him and he looked at me and smiled."
"Did he ask for the chips?" somebody asked.
"No, he let me have them. I got Stephen Curry's chips."
Warriors management is ecstatic about the player they selected No. 7 in last year's draft. The campaign to get Curry voted as the NBA's Rookie of the Year is in full swing, and the Warriors have paraded him around the country, on ESPN's "SportsCenter", on Dan Patrick's radio show, on TNT.
Certainly, he is one of the selling points while the current ownership looks for a buyer.
But quietly, Curry experiences a tiny bit of reservation. The love he receives, the hype that follows him, comes with a price.
Curry doesn't want to inconvenience his loved ones. He doesn't want to upstage his teammates. He doesn't want to come off as a glutton for glory.
"He doesn't take anything for granted, and he doesn't think he's entitled to anything," said Steve Rossiter, one of Curry's closest teammates at Davidson. "That's not who he is. "
Curry said his parents, his high school coach, his girlfriend — whom he first met six years ago in their church youth group — and a couple Davidson teammates serve as his escape. They allow him a welcome relief from life on the pedestal.
Curry said he's confident he won't fall off, nor does he want off his high place. In his mind, it's his calling to be humble while exalted.
"It's possible to keep that forever," Curry said of his pristine image. "It can't be just for show. It's got to be who you are. I've thought about this. I think it's just who I am, who I was made to be."
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