If not for the demands of father Dell Curry, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry would be known as “Minnesota Timberwolves star Stephen Curry.”
Minnesota owned the No. 5 and No. 6 picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. With their first selection, they picked Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. Though David Khan, then the general manager of the Timberwolves, would have preferred to take Curry with the next pick according to a piece he recently wrote for Sports Illustrated, a message from Curry’s dad, who played in the NBA for 16 years, suggested there would have been “hell to pay” had Minnesota drafted his son.
From the SI piece:
Jeff Austin, who I’d known casually, had represented Dell Curry when he was a player. He had been handed Steph due to his connection to Dell and told me this was a family request. “I really need your help on this,” Jeff said, explaining why there would be no visit and perhaps even hell-to-pay. (As it turned out, this was the only time when I was with the Wolves that I ever ran into this type of draft problem.)
The back-channel message would have weighed heavily in my decision-making process under any circumstances, but especially in Minnesota. Immediately after my hire, I was spending nearly every weekday morning in the team’s conference room, listening to team business partners and season-ticket holders lament over coffee and pastries. “You’ll never attract free agents here,” they said, practically in unison. “Players don’t want to play in cold-weather places.” Doomsday all around.
Instead, Minnesota selected another point guard in Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, who was out of the NBA three years later.