Following his fourth NBA title and Finals MVP win, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry often used the phrase “What are they going to say now?” in regards to his professional summary. But now, the same goes for his college career.
On Wednesday, Curry was inducted into Davidson College’s Hall of Fame, had his jersey number retired and received his diploma in a ceremony in Belk Arena on the school’s campus.
“This is an absolutely amazing day and an amazing moment for myself and my family,” Curry said. “The best decision I ever made was to come to Davidson College and pursue an education, join an amazing community and, most importantly, play for an amazing man who has built this program in Coach [Bob] McKillop.”
Curry finished his degree in May with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology but was unable to attend the college’s graduation in the spring because of the NBA playoffs. So he got an individual commencement on Wednesday.
“To earn this degree you showed determination and perseverance,” Davidson president Doug Hicks said during the ceremony. “It would have been so easy, so straightforward to not complete your college degree. Yet in response to that idea, you did what you did to 29 other NBA organizations, you said, ‘night, night.'”
Earning his degree was fulfilling a promise Curry made to his mother, Sonya, 13 years ago when Curry declared for the draft. But, it also was a prerequisite for getting his jersey retired — a rule put in place at Davidson.
Sonya spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on how initially she wanted her son to attend a more prominent school, but her mind was changed when she saw how happy Curry was at Davidson.
Curry’s father, Dell, touched on his son’s work ethic and noted that the next time he is inducted into a Hall of Fame, “You know where that is going to be.”
McKillop, Curry’s former coach and Davidson’s winningest coach in school history, concluded the speeches, saying, “There is hope in the world because of Stephen Curry.”
Curry attended Davidson College from 2006 to 2009 and during those three years became the school’s all-time leader in points, 3-pointers, free throws, field goals and steals.
Curry also finished his college career as the Southern Conference’s all-time leading scorer, set an NCAA record with 162 triples in 2008, was the 2009 Southern Conference Bob Waters Male Athlete of the Year and was a consensus All-American in 2009. He led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2008.
“Every president at every commencement makes hopeful statements about graduates’ futures,” Hicks said. “In that spirit, I hereby predict, with confidence, Stephen Curry, that you will enjoy considerable success in your life and career after college.”
Following the commencement speeches, Curry’s wife Ayesha and children Riley, Ryan and Canon joined him on stage.
Until Wednesday, Davidson had retired just eight player jerseys, but never a jersey number. Curry’s No. 30 became the first number to be retired and removed from the rotation, meaning no Davidson men’s basketball player will ever wear No. 30 again.
As the audience counted down from 10, Curry and his family pulled a lever in the shape of a basketball to reveal his jersey hanging in the rafters and forever indoctrinate him into Davidson history.
“I’m a graduate,” Curry said to end his speech. “I’m a Davidson alum and I am in the Hall of Fame. And that’s pretty crazy.”