CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After growing up in Charlotte, Stephen Curry was thrilled to be back in the Queen City for All-Star Weekend.
When Steph learned he was coming home to Charlotte for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, he wanted to do more than party. He wanted to make an impact.
"Charlotte means everything to me. This is where I learned how to play the game," Steph Curry said during Saturday's All-Star Game Media Day. "So many people in this city got to watch me grow up in the game."
On Friday, the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation, Under Armour, and Chase unveiled renovations at the Carole Hoefener Center. The point guard said the center was chosen because its priorities line up with his family’s.
“Equal opportunities for education, access to and more knowledge about nutrition and wellness and having a safe and inspiring place to play,” Steph said. “I am excited to see my hometown community engage in the new space, and we deeply believe in its ongoing impact.”
Steph and Under Armour representatives sat down months ago to talk about how they wanted to spend their money during All-Star Weekend. They decided they wanted to do something special that would have a lasting effect, long after the festivities were over.
“Our community leaders met with the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation,” said Cheron Porter, senior vice president of public relations for Charlotte Housing Authority. “They came together, and they really just blessed us with this amazing opportunity to serve the kids in our community,”
Work began in January, and the center was ready for reveal on February 15. The new basketball gym called Curry Court, an education center for STEM students, and Ayesha Curry’s culinary kitchen were just a few of the highlights from the project.
The center paid it forward -- when renovations were underway, discarded materials were often salvaged and donated to other organizations. Because the court floor is now regulation, tournaments can be held at the center.
In the future, the NBA Players Association will donate $150,000 over the next three years for programs at the Carole Hoefener Center. Porter estimated 250 kids and their parents will benefit from that money each year.
The All-Star Experience
Steph Curry arrived in Charlotte Thursday morning. He said while it's been overwhelming, he wanted to soak in the experience.
Steph's dad, Dell Curry, also played in the NBA -- including a stretch with the Charlotte Hornets.
"To be here in the All-Star game where my dad played for 10 years, this will be a weekend we will remember for a very long time," Steph Curry said.
He got sentimental when thinking of the Bojangles' Coliseum.
"I've played countless games in this building, growing up [in] high school and AAU, so it's pretty awesome to back and representing Charlotte the way I know how," Steph Curry said.
Steph Curry has spent his entire NBA career with the Golden State Warriors, while his younger brother Seth Curry plays for the Portland Trailblazers. Both siblings participated in this year's NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest.
Brotherly competition is always a factor with these two, but there was an additional wager for Saturday night's competition.
"Whoever loses has to pick up the tab for all the tickets anytime we play against each other for the rest of our careers," Steph Curry said. "Which the stakes are high considering how many people show up for our games."
Steph Curry said he knew his younger brother was confident, and he had the family in his corner. But the two-time MVP wasn't worried -- he said he accepted the challenge and wanted to pull the upset.
Steph got a first round score of 27 during the 3-point competition -- and advanced to the final round. Seth Curry didn't make it as far as his older brother, receiving a score of 16 in the first round.
In the final round, Steph got a score of 24 in the final round, but fell to Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets with 26 points.
Either way, Steph beat Seth -- so Seth is going to be purchasing a lot of tickets in the future.
Returning to his roots
While in Charlotte, Steph Curry wanted to return to his educational roots and some of his first stomping grounds as an athlete.
He credits his time at Charlotte Christian School for giving him a solid foundation to make the leap to the next level.
"It's always a place I want to be a part of my story and just proud to be able to represent them the way I know how," Steph Curry said.
On Friday, Steph Curry returned to his former college, Davidson, for their game against St. Joseph's. Channeling their inner Steph, the Wildcats won. Curry celebrated his homecoming in the student section.
"It's surreal every time I get to go back there just in terms of our humble beginnings," Steph Curry said. "And the imprint not just myself, but the team I got to play for those three years we left on the program."
Curry reflected on how special it is to have an event like All-Star Weekend in his hometown, and how it feels to be a part of it. In addition to being a part of the 3-point competition in Saturday's events, the Golden State Warrior will play for Team Giannis against Team LeBron at the Spectrum Center Sunday night.
"It's a reminder of the journey, a celebration of where I'm at now and my entire family and everyone who's had a part of my getting here," he said. "I want them to celebrate, too."