I remember sitting in my usual 2 p.m. Wednesday meeting at the gig, listening to the mindless drivel that was being spewed across the table while casually scanning my laptop. I was browsing Facebook when I saw the following words from the homie Bonta.
Steph Curry will be playing tonight at the SF Pro-Am. It will be packed silly tonight at Kezar.
There wasn’t anything else that needed to be read or said. My plans were made for the evening.
I sent out the necessary smoke signals to notify the homies of what was going down, and we all took our talents across the Bay Bridge to go see if we could nab a spot to check out Wardell Stephen Curry Jr. in person. When Philip, Jason and myself finally linked up, there was a giddiness about what we were possibly going to witness, but there was also some skepticism. I’d been to enough Pro-Ams and streetball games to know that sometimes a big name gets attached to the event but that person doesn’t always show up, so I kept my optimism to a minimum.
So there we were, walking into Kezar Pavilion with kids mulling about and one team already warming up, and we went to find our seats. The first team, Bay Pride, was warming up, and I recognized a few players who played college ball in the area in the past. They almost looked disinterested in being there, like it was another walk in the park. Then the other team, Gold Rush, came on the court. They started hitting the layup line, and of course, there was no Steph Curry. I threw my empty water bottle in disgust and pulled my phone out to begin thinking about post-game dinner options.
Then I heard the roar of the people.
There was Steph Curry, clad in all gold everything, rocking the #9, hitting the light jog onto the court. The man of the hour had arrived, and the game could officially begin.
As the first quarter began, I watched Steph Curry put up one of the finest brick-fests I’d ever seen in my life. By my own finger math, he went 0-12 and really wasn’t even close with some of those shots. He dribbled off his foot once, threw a pass out of bounds, and folks were growing a bit restless in the gym.
I knew better.
I’d seen this act before time and time again at Oracle Arena. This surely wouldn’t last.
For the next three quarters, I witnessed one of the greatest players in the world play basketball without a care in the world. A double team here, a triple team there, it didn’t matter. Three-pointers were launched from the Golden Gate Bridge, ankles were abused and left back at Golden Gate Park, and memories were embedded in the people’s minds for the rest of time. For a moment, it looked like Steph thought he was putting on a show like he did in Madison Square Garden last year. Nope, Steph Curry decided to put on a show for the people in Kezar Pavilion.
(Video by George Nguyen)
During the second quarter, I’m pretty sure Curry didn’t miss at all. At halftime, we switched our seats on the opposite end of the court so we could watch Curry’s glory up close and personal all game. At one point, Curry was chilling in the stands taking selfies with the people and throwing alley-oops with reckless abandon. It was Stephen Curry’s playground, and we were watching the director’s cut on the VHS.
By the time the game was nearing its conclusion and Curry had put up 43 points in the process, it was time to bring out #9. The standing ovation was just, and Curry’s night was done, but not really. With a towel over his head and the people chanting his name, the greatness of the game happened. People started swarming to the bench. Kids with no regard to rules and regulations literally walked over to Curry on the bench asking for autographs and selfies. The man obliged like only a superstar could, with a smile, a rub on the top of the head and a signature that only he could give away.
The horn blew, the game ended and Steph Curry walked out of Kezar giving the people more than they could’ve dreamed of. He gave us all a memory we’ll never forget.
P.S. Word on the street is that Damian Lillard will be taking his talents to the SF Pro-Am tonight. Who knows, maybe I’ll be writing this article again for Dame. Let’s hope so.