SAN FRANCISCO (Christian Examiner) – Golden State Warrior guard Stephen Curry accepted his second straight NBA Most Valuable Player trophy award Tuesday, and then sprinkled comments about his Christian faith throughout a news conference televised nationwide.
Curry became the first unanimous selection in the history of the NBA trophy, winning all 131 first-place votes and doing something that the NBA's other great players of the past – such as Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan – never did.
Curry accepted the award the day after he scored 40 points in the Warriors' overtime playoff win over Portland. His 17 points in the extra period were a new NBA record.
"I want to thank God, obviously, for health, for talents He's given me, for my family who supports me, for the things that basketball has taught me on and off the court, and for the people I've been able to meet through the game of basketball," Curry said. "I've been blessed in that regard. I'm just thankful for this opportunity to play the game that I love, and share that with the world."
Curry and the Warriors surprised some observers by winning an NBA title last year, and this season won an NBA-record 73 regular season games, surpassing a record held by Jordan's 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. In the process Curry scored a league-leading 30.1 points per game.
The Warriors hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals series with Portland.
"I looked at the list of people who have won MVPs before, and they're legends," Curry said. " To be the first unanimous MVP award winner is something that I don't even know how to put into words. ... I'm our here playing the game and doing what I love to do and what I've been blessed to do and given the talent to do. You never know exactly how it's going to unfold. You just have that faith and drive."
Curry is well-known for his Christian faith. After each basket he points heavenward. His Twitter account says: "Believer. Husband to @ayeshacurry, father to Riley and Ryan, son, brother. Golden State Warriors guard. Davidson Wildcat. Philippians 4:13."
After he suffered a knee injury in late April that kept him out two weeks, he tweeted, "Thanks 4 all the prayers & messages. Can feel all the positive energy. God is Great! All things considered I'm Gonna be alright!"
He said Tuesday, "I fell blessed to have gotten the news I did after my MRI and to be back on the court. ... Every single game, I try not to take for granted."
Curry was drafted seventh in the 2009 NBA draft out of Davidson, and his rise to be the league's best player has amazed even those close to him. Warriors' coach Steve Kerr said during the news conference that Curry's mom asked Kerr before Curry was drafted: "Do you think Steph can make it in the NBA?"
"Your own mom didn't know you would make it in the league," Kerry said to laughter. "Nine years later you're the unanimous MVP of the league."