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Basketball

At Davidson, Steph Curry was just one of the guys


Will Reigel couldn’t believe his horrible luck. Of all the people he could bump into while touring Davidson College, it had to be the one guy he really couldn’t stand? It had to be Steph Curry?

Over the previous two years, Reigel had built up a good dose of loathing for Curry, dating to a high school game between Curry’s Charlotte Christian and Reigel’s Charlotte Latin in 2006. The two rival schools played four times that year — twice in the regular season, once in a holiday tournament and once in the state playoffs. Latin went 0-for-4, including the one game Reigel couldn’t forget.

Just a sophomore and guarded all night by Curry, Reigel went to the free throw line, his team down one with four seconds left in the game. Curry walked by, looked him right in the eye and smirked.

“No pressure, Will,” Curry said.

Reigel missed them both.

And now, two years later, as Reigel is checking out Davidson, there’s Curry. Only the smirk is gone, replaced with a warm smile. Curry remembers his name, even asks Reigel about his high school team. “I’m thinking, ‘What the hell?’ I’ve held a grudge against this guy for two years, and now he’s the nicest guy in the world. Before that, I was probably the only guy that did not like Stephen Curry. Then even I couldn’t hate him.”

Who can? Curry is a two-time NBA MVP. His Warriors, in search of a second consecutive NBA championship, have a 2-1 lead in The Finals. His appeal is global. His pregame warm-up routine a must-see event, much like his games. His jersey, according to the NBA, the most popular among all NBA players.

It all started at Davidson, where Stephen Curry first became Steph Curry.

It’s also where he was just a regular college kid trashing a fish tank at a local restaurant.

Wait — what?


Five bucks says you won’t get in the koi pond.

Steve Rossiter looked around and did the math — 10 guys, five bucks a pop. All he had to do was one quick swim with the fish and pocket some decent money for a college kid.

But Rossiter needed help, someone to distract everybody from watching a guy swim in a koi pond in the middle of a restaurant.

Enter the innocent, baby-faced-looking phenom who had just led Davidson to within a shot of knocking off Kansas and a spot in the Final Four of the 2008 NCAA tournament.

So as Rossiter prepped for his dip, Curry turned to the hostess and offered a smile.

“While he talked, I got in,” Rossiter remembers. “The fish swam away. They were pretty big.”

Plotting how to discreetly jump into a koi pond while people enjoy dinner is rightly considered ridiculous and foolish: classic college stupidity.

It is also vintage Steph Curry. Never the initiator and rarely the actual prankster, the guard was always happy to set up his Davidson teammates, even off the court.

Need more evidence? See for yourself.