After leading his team to the most winningest season in NBA history, ESPN is reporting that Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry will be named this NBA season’s MVP (his second time receiving the honor).
What makes this particularly significant, though, is that Curry is a devoted Christian – and isn’t afraid to talk about it.
“People should know who I represent and why I am who I am,” Curry said in his previous MVP acceptance speech, “and that’s because of my Lord and Savior.” He also added: “I can’t say it enough how important my faith is to how I play the game and who I am. I’m just blessed, I’m thankful for where I am.”
Curry grew up in a basketball family. His father played for the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors and his older brother Seth currently plays for the Sacramento Kings.
He attended a small, private Christian school for high school, where he led his team to three conference championships, but had trouble finding a place to play basketball in college. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and play for Virginia Tech, but was only offered a walk-on spot. So he ended up playing for for a small Christian college, Davidson College. Though their team had not won an NCAA Tournament game since 1969, he led them all the way to the Elite Eight. He suffered from injuries in his first few years in the NBA, but in 2015 he led the Golden State Warriors to their first championship in 40 years.
Despite his incredible success, he has stayed true to his Christian faith, which he says he received from his parents. “They raised us to believe in God,” he wrote in an article for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, “and we were at church every Wednesday for youth Bible studies and every Sunday for services.”
“I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I gave my life to Christ. I was in fourth grade, and I recall hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ and walking down the aisle to give my life to Him. My parents continued to pour into my faith from that point on, making sure I understood the commitment I’d just made. Starting in middle school I attended Charlotte Christian School, which allowed me to hear the gospel on a daily basis.”
“Looking back, my childhood was filled with the Lord’s presence.”
He’s found little ways to express his faith publicly. Whenever he first steps onto a basketball court, he pounds his chest with his fist then points upward, symbolizing his “heart for God” and “as a reminder of who I’m playing for.”
On his branded shoes by Under Armour, the Curry One, you can find printed on the tongue the text “4:13.” When asked in a press conference what it meant, he explained it was a reference to Philippians 4.13: “It says ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It’s also my mantra, how I get up for games and why I play the way I do.” He also has a tattoo of 1st Corinthians 13.8 in Hebrew on his wrist (“Love never fails”).
“There’s more to me than just this jersey I wear,” Curry wrote, “and that’s Christ living inside of me.”