Stephen Curry pointed to the back. He caught Eric Housen off guard. Apparently the Warriors’ equipment and travel manager didn’t expect to be called out by name in an MVP acceptance speech.
“Eric Housen, who’s in the back, we’ve got the best equipment manager in the league,” Curry said Monday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. “I think these guys would agree. You probably have a more official title than that, but the work you do day in and day out, taking care of us players.”
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Here was Curry, who earned 100 of 130 first-place votes in the 2014-15 NBA MVP Award voting, taking up the trophy and standing at the podium and thanking seemingly everyone he’s ever met. He demanded (OK, very politely requested) a round of applause for his wife. He shouted out the Warriors’ security director. Even the team’s former general manager got a minute.
After the Warriors’ brass, from GM Bob Myers to coach Steve Kerr to a Kia representative to event MC and play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald, took the stage to sing Curry’s praises, it only made sense. They called him humble, so he showed his humility.
There was no “you the real MVP” moment, no. Instead, we saw the story of a basketball prodigy with deep roots in religion and the game unfold, all through a series of salutations.
“I remember sitting out my first middle school game because I didn’t handle my stuff at home,” he said, eyes on his mother, Sonya. “That’s a pretty embarrassing moment, going to your first middle school game and telling your teammates, ‘I can’t play because I didn’t do the dishes.’ ”
But Curry is dominating these days because of the backbone provided by those around him, he said. He thanked first-year coach Kerr, saying this 67-15 season was his most fun. As though that needed saying, he clarified how important the coaching change that he once opposed was to the organization and himself. (Here we note that he didn’t thank ex-coach Mark Jackson, who as an ESPN broadcaster said James Harden was his MVP choice.)
“Steph, I want to thank you for making my job really, really easy,” Kerr said.
And what else could he have said? Curry’s speech was an embodiment of what he is as a player: He showed versatility, cracking jokes and fighting tears, all while speaking with precision and humanity. He flashed confidence, of course.
“Hopefully we have a long future together,” he said to “Splash Brother” shooting guard Klay Thompson. “We can do some special things. Hopefully be the best backcourt to ever play.”
But he mostly had an anecdote for everyone. Curry’s playing style is all about substance and open-mindedness, his decision-making so untraditional but based on who is around him. And that shined in the speech.
“HB, the Black Falcon, from Day One, you’re my lockermate,” Curry said to small for[……]