Home SPORT Steph Curry stunned onlooking LeBron James with all-time Sweet 16 performance

Steph Curry stunned onlooking LeBron James with all-time Sweet 16 performance

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Steph Curry stunned onlooking LeBron James with all-time Sweet 16 performance

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Steph Curry has made a career out of breaking NBA three-point records.

But before the NBA championships, MVPs and Finals MVP, Chef Curry was a baby-faced assassin breaking hearts and March Madness brackets during a Cinderella run through the NCAA Tournament with the plucky Davidson Wildcats.

Curry led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight for only the third time in their history

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Curry led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight for only the third time in their historyCredit: Getty

Few people had heard of Curry prior to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Steph was the son of former NBA player Dell Curry but went under the radar in high school due to his slender 160-pound frame.

Furthermore, the underdog Wildcats had not won an NCAA Tournament game in 39 years, but along came sharpshooter Curry to take the team stratospheric in a March Madness run for the ages.

Davidson entered the NCAA Tournament as the No.10 seed and upset No.7 seed Gonzaga in the Round of 64 with a 40-point performance from Curry.

The future Warriors star then dropped 30 points, including five three-pointers, on No.2 Georgetown to propel Davidson to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in school history.

By that point Curry was a household name across the country and even on LeBron James‘ radar.

The then-Cleveland Cavaliers star stopped by Ford Field to watch marksman Curry and the Wildcats take on Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.

‘The King’ would not be disappointed and got a first-hand glimpse at what Curry would later become.

The Davidson standout notched his third-straight 30-point game, scoring 33 points with six three-pointers, as the Wildcats claimed a 73-56 victory to march on to the school’s third-ever Elite Eight.

His performance and shooting abilities stunned the nation in 2008

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His performance and shooting abilities stunned the nation in 2008Credit: Getty
Curry was eventually drafted by the Golden State Warriors

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Curry was eventually drafted by the Golden State Warriors

Television footage showed LeBron’s open-mouth reaction to Steph pouring it on the Badgers as he realised a star had been born.

“Think he’ll be good in the league?” LeBron was asked after Curry’s iconic performance.

Steph Curry makes insane 94ft full-court shot from the Golden State Warriors tunnel

“I think so,” James responded.

“He knows how to play the game of basketball, being a son of a former NBA player Dell Curry he was taught well how to play.

“He has the talent.

“He’s good, he’s good. I was impressed.”

Steph and Davidson’s Cinderalla run would ultimately come to an end in the next round.

They came up against the top-seed Kansas Jayhawks full of future NBA talent including Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush.

Steph finished with 25 points while shooting 4-for-16 from three as the eventual champions held on for a 59-57 win.

Curry averaged 32 points and made 5.8 three-pointers per game over four March Madness game and his draft stock soared.

“That was Steph Curry’s coming-out party,” teammate Jason Richards would say a decade later.

“People around the basketball world knew how good Steph was, but that put him on the map, because everyone watches the NCAA Tournament.

“We became the darlings of that year, with Steph being our guy, our leader. He took the nation by storm, and ran with it.”

Curry was ultimately drafted 7th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 NBA Draft and would go on to have a Hall of Fame career with the franchise.

Curry is a four-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, Finals MVP, 10-time NBA All-Star and two-time scoring champion, and has a whole host of other achievements on his resume.

Unbeknownst to LeBron when he first saw Curry, the former Davidson star would also be constant thorn in his side side during his 21-year NBA career.

Curry and James have had a legendary rivalry over the years and met in four consecutive NBA Finals between 2015-2018.

Curry got the best of James and the Cavs in three of their four meetings with LeBron winning one in 2016 when he came back from 1-3 down in the Finals.

The modern-day icons will forever be intertwined and it all started with that Sweet 16 game in 2008.

Years later, James shared footage of Curry’s heroics against Wisconsin, posting that Curry wasn’t just ‘some kid’ and that he knew he was witnessing something special.

He certainly wasn’t wrong.



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