As if he weren't likeable before.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry became the darling of the sports world on Monday during a news conference surrounding his new Most Valuable Player award, choking up with humility as he discussed how faith and family made him the player and man that he is today.
"It's a tremendous honor," Curry said, dressed in a blue suit and tie, noting that Jesus, his wife and his parents are the reasons for all the good that's ever happened to him. "I love playing basketball."
Curry, who set a single-season record for three-pointers made and led the league’s best regular-season team in scoring, assists and steals, won the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA announced on Monday. He scooped up 100 of the 130 first-place votes from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as the Kia MVP fan vote on NBA.com. In all, Curry won with a total of 1,198 points.
As the 27-year-old waited to speak at a Monday news conference in Oakland, he waved a gentle "hi," and received a standing ovation.
In his comments, he first thanked Jesus, and then his family, especially his wife, Ayesha, whom he met as a teen, before addding: "This hasn't sunk in at all. I'm on cloud nine. Today is a celebration for sure." He also thanked every teammate individually, as well as the Warriors' equipment manager and the PR assistants.
The 6-foot, 3-inch guard becomes the second Warriors player to win the award, joining Wilt Chamberlain, who was honored in 1959-60 when the franchise played in Philadelphia.
"It doesn't take long after meeting him to know he's a special person," said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, speaking with emotion in his voice. Meyers noted "he does a lot when no one's watching."
Meyers also gave a special nod to Curry's parents, Dell and Sonya, whom he credited with raising an "amazing person." In February, for example, Curry was at the White House, helping with the president's Malaria Initiative. For the past three seasons, he's donated mosquito nets for every three-pointer he made to the United Nations "Nothing But Nets" Campaign.
"Forget about the three-point shots," Myers said. "The best part about him is off the court."
Curry made 286 three-pointers, breaking his own NBA record of 272 set in 2012-13. He shot 48.7 percent from the field and ranked fourth in the league in three-point field goal percentage (44.3). Curry also led the NBA in free throw percentage (91.4), converting a career-high 52 consecutive free throws from March 9 to April 4.
At the news conference, Warriors coach Steve Kerr added that Curry is just so "quiet and humble off the court," which are qualities that make him a great leader.
Curry will be given the MVP award, formally known as the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, on Tuesday at the Oracle Arena before Game 2 in the second playoff round against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Curry beat out Houston's James Harden, Cleveland's LeBron James and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, among others, for the league's most coveted individual award.
Curry helped the Warriors win a franchise-record 67 games by averaging 23.8 points (sixth in the NBA), 7.7 assists (sixth), a career-high 2.04 steals (fourth) and 4.3 rebounds, according to the NBA.
With Curry leading the way, Golden State became the 10th team in NBA history to win at least 67 games in a season. The Warriors scored 920 more points than they allowed with Curry on the court, the highest plus/minus for any player this season and an average of 11.5 points in his 80 appearances.
As part of its support of the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award, KMA will donate on behalf of Curry an all-new and more capable than ever 2016 Kia Sorento LX CUV to the East Oakland Youth Development Center, which develops the social and leadership capacities of youth and young adults.