DAVIDSON, N.C. — Stephen Curry isn’t one to forget his roots.
The NBA’s Most Valuable Player returned to his alma mater Davidson College on Thursday to show off the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy with the small school’s close-knit community.
Curry worked out with Davidson players, participated in a question-and-answer period with college students and banked in a 25-foot jumper in the first shot ever attempted at the school’s new practice facility, which is set to open in the coming weeks. He signed numerous autographs for students and even ate some chicken curry in the school cafeteria.
“This is where the whole story started and I know how much the Davidson alumni and community supports me, so this is very special,” Curry told The Associated Press.
Longtime Davidson men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop said Curry, who led the underdog Wildcats to the Final Eight in 2008, never ceases to amaze him with his humility.
McKillop said Curry told him he wanted to return to campus to celebrate this past season’s success with the student body.
“For him to come back and say, ‘I want you to be a part of this, because you are a part of this,’ to me that is just outstanding,” Mckillop said. “He makes everyone so proud that he’s a Davidson guy.”
Davidson athletic director Jim Murphy said the event was impromptu and that Curry wanted to keep it quiet and mostly within the community.
The event wasn’t made public to the media.
But word began leaking out on Thursday that the Warriors star was back in town and the campus started to come alive. Several hundred students crowded in the school’s athletic center on campus to hear Curry speak about his time at Davidson and life in the NBA.
“The welcome he got when he walked on stage, that is something that every one of these students is going to remember for the rest of their academic career,” Murphy said. “We are so proud of Steph. We watch from a distance on TV, but to see him in person talk so eloquently about his experience at Davidson — he’s a special guy.”
Speaking on stage, Curry thanked everyone in the Davidson community he could think of from McKillop to the administration to the grounds crew that keeps the campus looking sharp.
“I’m going to try to represent you guys the best that I can from here on out,” Curry said.
Curry, who grew up in Charlotte, is making the rounds this weekend in hometown. He also plans to bring the trophy by his former high school today.
A big Carolina Panthers fan, Curry will be hitting the “Keep Pounding” drum before the team’s home opener Sunday against the Houston Texans in Charlotte — a tradition that honors former Panthers linebacker and assistant coach Sam Mills, who died of cancer.
“Man, I’m looking forward to being down there on the field,” said Curry, who owns his own No. 30 Panthers jersey. “Never done it before, so that will be cool.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Curry has been in the team’s locker room before and previously attended training camp in Spartanburg, S.C.
“It’s going to be cool because he’s a huge Panthers fan and the city just loves him,” Rivera said.
The homecoming comes one day after Curry signed a contract extension with Under Armour that will run through the 2024 season.