Steph Curry made his NBA debut in 2009 with the Golden State Warriors, following in his father’s footsteps. Curry’s father is Dell Curry, a former professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1986 to 2002. His father spent the majority of his NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets and returned to North Carolina after his retirement to raise his family there.
Here’s what you need to know about Steph Curry’s father Dell Curry:
1. Steph Curry’s Parents, Dell Curry & Sonya Curry, Raised 3 Children During Their 33-Year Marriage But Announced Their Divorce in 2021
Curry’s parents met when they were both at Virginia Tech, with Curry’s father attending the school from 1982 to 1986. He played for the college all four seasons and helped the Hokies to four postseason tournaments. In fact, Dell Curry was so instrumental to the team that he was honored as the first basketball player from the college to have his jersey retired, which took place before his last home game on March 1, 1986, Virginia Tech reported.
Dell and Sonya Curry married in 1988 and welcomed their first son, Steph Curry, that year. The couple then welcomed two more children, a son named Seth Curry and a daughter named Sydel Curry.
Unfortunately, the Warriors star’s parents announced that they were divorcing in 2021 after a 33-year marriage. The former couple told People in a statement that they had explored a “trial separation” but ultimately decided to end the marriage. TMZ Sports reported at the time that court documents included accusations from both Sonya and Dell Curry that the other party had been unfaithful during their marriage.
Curry got candid about his parents’ divorce in an interview with The Ringer in February 2022, explaining that it had been “challenging.” He said, “I could be mad and be like, ‘Y’all effed this up.’ I could have that approach. But it’s going to be an acknowledgment of both of y’all in terms of how y’all raised me. The calmness I have in myself is because of y’all.”
2. Dell Curry Played in the NBA for Nearly 2 Decades, Including 10 Seasons With the Charlotte Hornets
Before there was the NBA star Steph Curry, there was Dell Curry. Curry Sr. played in the NBA for almost two decades, beginning his career in 1986. He was picked by Utah Jazz 15th overall in the 1986 NBA Draft and played one season there before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After just one season with the Cavaliers, he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1988 NBA expansion draft. Dell Curry would go on to spend the majority of his NBA career with the Hornets, from 1988 to 1998. After one season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Dell Curry went to the Toronto Raptors where he had three seasons before he retired in 2002.
Back in 2015, Dell Curry was honored at a Charlotte Hornets game for “Dell Curry Night,” in which the Hornets took on the Golden State Warriors and Curry. At halftime, there was a ceremony in honor of Curry Sr., who spent 10 years with the franchise as a player, is the Hornets’ career leading scorer and is now an analyst for the franchise, the New York Times reported.
“I’m humbled by it, the opportunity to say thanks to the city, friends, family,” Dell Curry told his son in a pre-game interview. “It was a great 10 years I had here, unbelievable memories.”
3. Dell Curry’s Sons Soaked Up His Basketball Knowledge & the NBA Environment But He Said the Emphasis Was Always on Chores & Discipline First
Dell Curry revealed that when his children were growing up, it was actually more important for him to teach his kids self-discipline rather than any basketball skills. “I taught my boys the fundamentals of the game and fundamentals of the shot,” Dell Curry told Reuters in 2020, “But they had to have their own self discipline and dedication.”
He explained that his children were always around basketball and were able to watch him and some of the best NBA stars and that’s how they learned about the pros’ work ethic.
However, while Dell Curry was a supportive father and wanted to see his children succeed in athletics, he said chores were always the most important and he wouldn’t hesitate to enforce the rules. “As educators there were chores to do at home so there’s stuff to do to earn the right to go to the games, we thought that kept them hungry,” he said. Curry’s father added that his children quickly learned that watching him play or practice was a “privilege.”
During his interview with the publication, Dell Curry said their three children rotated through the three chores: dog duty, dishes after meals and trash duty. “When one of them did not do their chore, me and the wife didn’t say anything,” Dell Curry explained. “Just when it came time for them to go to the game or a sporting event or anything, we just said ‘no, you didn’t do this’, so it was part of the discipline to do the chores but also the organization for them to remember what their responsibilities were.”
Curry revealed that spending time with his father at the games and practices and seeing him with his teammates in that environment made him want the same for his own career. He told the Charlotte Observer that the NBA was his goal although he wasn’t sure what the path would be to get there.
It’s clear that Curry’s path has led him to greatness, and his father admitted that his son has now clearly surpassed him. “He’s definitely better than I was,” Dell Curry told GQ. “I had a two-dribble limit. He’s probably best off the dribble. His range is definitely farther than mine was. But it’s a different NBA. I would never take 35-foot three-pointers with 17 seconds on the shot clock. So it’s a different game, and he plays with a team and a coach that allows him to play that freely.”
4. Dell Curry Now Works for the Charlotte Hornets Broadcast Team as a Color Commentator
Dell Curry’s connection to the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets continued after his playing career as he became a color commentator on the Hornets TV broadcast in 2009. For the past several seasons, Curry’s father has worked alongside the play-by-play announcer Eric Collins and the duo is considered an integral part of the franchise, as well-known to fans as the rest of the team.
In a March 2022 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Collins said it was great working with Curry “because he cares.” He explained, “He’s the whole package. I worked with a ton of guys over the years. But in terms of intelligence, in terms of wit, in terms of history, in terms of ease of working with, I had never worked with anyone like him before.”
For his part, Dell Curry told the publication, “We’ve got the best job in the world, man. We love what we do. We’ve got a good team. We don’t call it work. It’s just watching the game and talking about it.”
That said, he acknowledged that it was strange to call games when the Hornets are facing Curry and the Warriors, or his son Seth Curry and the Brooklyn Nets. While he said that calling his sons’ games is the best feeling, he said he has to work to focus on the game as a whole and not just watch his kid. As for how he refers to them, “I mix it up,” he said. “Sometimes I call them Curry, sometimes I call them by their first name. I try to keep it light like that.”
5. Steph Curry Is a Philanthropist & His Father Dell Curry Had a Charitable Foundation of His Own
Dell Curry’s generosity during his time as an NBA player undoubtedly had an influence on his son, who has put time and money into charitable endeavors. He launched the Dell Curry Foundation, an organization aiming to improve computer literacy in youths, when he was still in the NBA.
The ACC reported in 2007 that the foundation had opened five reading and learning centers in Charlotte with the goal to provide “mentoring, educational and computer enrichment and literacy, drug abuse counseling, family wellness training, self-improvement skills, decision-making and team concept awareness.” Curry Sr. also worked with other athletes to found Athletes United for Youth to provide camps and mentoring for kids.
In 2019, Curry launched a foundation of his own with his wife Ayesha Curry named Eat. Learn. Play. According to Curry’s wife, he wanted to focus his efforts on promoting education and being active, while she wanted to focus on childhood hunger and access to food. She told Town & Country that their foundation combines both of their goals and it has had a major impact so far on kids and families.