Prior to tipoff Friday night, Dell Curry made his way to “the corner.”
The same corner where his son Steph, the reigning MVP with the Golden State Warriors, broke the Pelicans’ hearts last April during the first round of the playoffs.
Like father, like son — or in this case, like son, like father — Dell drained it.
“But I didn’t have quite the pressure he had,” Dell said with a grin.
The elder Curry, a former NBA great himself, was back in the Smoothie King Center for the first time since Steph’s shot forced overtime in last season’s back-breaking Game 3.
This time, Dell sat courtside, where he does television broadcasts for his former team, the Charlotte Hornets.
When he’s not watching the Hornets, he’s busy watching Steph, who over the past two seasons has taken the basketball world by storm.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” Dell said. “As a parent and an ex-player, watching him reach that level and all his hard work paying off makes you really proud, especially knowing how hard it is being that consistent night in and night out. He loves to play the game, and he works hard at it.”
But watching Steph’s game isn’t the only thing that keeps him busy. There’s also his son Seth, who plays with the Sacramento Kings.
Dell watches every one of his sons’ games, oftentimes with two TVs on his house. Or a TV and an iPad.
It helps some that Charlotte is on the East Coast and his sons play on the West Coast.
Well, sort of.
“It helps that I get to see them live, but it hurts because I miss out on a lot of sleep,” Dell said. “But we are just so blessed to have two boys to follow in their father’s footsteps doing something they grew up watching.”
And if that’s not enough, there’s also granddaughter Riley, who captured the hearts of the nation with her appearances in the postgame news conferences during the NBA Finals. Riley’s sister, Ryan, was born in July, shortly after the Finals.
“Riley is a personable girl with a great attitude and a wonderful personality,” Dell said. “What you saw in the playoffs is just a snippet of what she is like. She is a joy to be around.”
But Riley’s childhood stardom shouldn’t come as a surprise. Steph was a childhood star as well, at least he was in a recent video that Dell and his wife found and released: footage of a Burger King commercial featuring Dell and Steph that has gone viral.
“Parents ask me all the time what’s my advice, and I tell them to save all the pictures and videos,” Dell said. “You never know when you’re going to need them. We’ve found a lot, but there are a lot that we haven’t found.”
Stephen is creating plenty more. He’s a fixture on “SportsCenter” with some of his circus shots and is a reason fans all across the country arrive at the arena way before tipoff to watch his pregame heroics. His trick shot from the tunnel has millions of views on YouTube.
Those type of shots have made shooting contests among Dell, Steph and Seth legendary.
“We have some pretty long games of H-O-R-S-E,” Dell said.
Dell rarely plays one-on-one games with his sons. Especially since a then-13-year old Steph beat him for the first time years ago.
But even then, Dell wasn’t sure just how special Stephen was going to be.
“I knew he could shoot the ball, but you never know how it’s going to develop,” Dell said.
The stories about how Stephen wasn’t heavily recruited are well-documented. He wound up at Davidson College. Now he’s considered one of the best players in the league, even being mentioned ahead of greats like Isaiah Thomas in ESPN’s recent ranking of the top 10 NBA point guards of all time.
“I like to wait until careers are over for that type of stuff, but he’s absolutely in the conversation,” Dell said. “It’s great to see him up there.”
Dell’s night came to an end when Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Batum, of course, was standing in that corner.
The same corner Dell made his 3-pointer from to start the night.
The same one Steph sank his from last April over the outstretched arms of Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans.
Photos even showed Steph’s eyes were closed when the ball left his hands that night. He still made it.
“He’s living the dream right now,” Dell said.
So is one proud father.