Dell Curry was standing near the loading dock at the Pepsi Center in Denver when Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum approached, gave him a big hug and asked, “Which shirt are you wearing?” for the Western Conference final.
“Got to flip a coin,” Curry responded.
With sons Stephen (Steph) and Seth Curry becoming the first siblings to face each other in an NBA conference final, it’s a dilemma most any parent would love.
Dell and his wife, Sonya, decided wearing a split jersey with the Golden State Warriors and Blazers would be “too easy.” Instead, they’ll flip a coin before each game in the best-of-seven series to determine which team they’ll represent.
Stephen can’t imagine how this might feel for his folks.
“I just know watching Seth play I get nervous watching him like on TV and stuff,” Stephen said after practice Monday. “For them, it’s family and parents who supported us all the way through the ranks.”
The parents’ routine will go something like this: If Sonya flips heads, she will wear Blazers attire to support Seth, while Dell wears Stephen’s Warriors colours. If the coin lands on tails, she’ll dress in Warriors clothing while Dell dons Blazers gear.
The next game Dell gets to flip the coin, and so on – until the series is decided. Game 1 in their series was Tuesday night, Trail Blazers at Warriors.
Dell and Sonya plan to attend every game, sitting with Stephen’s wife, Ayesha, at Warriors home games and with Seth’s fiancée, Callie Rivers, when the Blazers host.
“They’re like the royal family of the NBA,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday. “It’s incredible. There they are, Steph and Seth, both having all this success. As parents, they must be having the time of their lives. Actually I know they are because I’ve talked to them about it. What a beautiful scene. I’m sure it will be conflicting for them this next couple of weeks, but what a great story.”
Dell, who played 16 seasons in the NBA and is currently a TV analyst for the Charlotte Hornets, said the entire situation is just a bit unnerving for him.
“I normally don’t get nervous for games when either one of them play,” he said. “But I got a little nervous knowing how they’re going to play against each other.”
As hard as this will be on the parents, Dell knows it will be even more difficult for his sons.
“It’s going to be tough to put everything aside and battle each other because as siblings they want each other to do well,” Dell said. “They watch each other’s games and cheer for each other.”
Earlier this year, the Curry boys competed against each other in the three-point shootout at the all-star game in their hometown of Charlotte, N.C., with 31-year-old Stephen getting the best of his younger brother.
Seth, 28, said it’s hard to believe they’ll now meet in the playoffs.
“So many years I’ve watched Steph play in the Western Conference final, the NBA Finals, being in the crowd,” Seth said. “It’s going to be fun to be out there on the court, competing, to get to that final. It’s a dream come true for us, but our families are going to have a lot of fun as well.”
Stephen has been to the NBA Finals four times, winning three with the Warriors. This is his brother’s first playoff run.
“It would be great for Seth to get a [championship] ring, but we can’t root for one son over the other,” 54-year-old Dell said. “We’re just going to let it play out and have fun watching them both play.”
Big brother is proud.
“He’s had a very interesting journey to get to where he’s at, dealing with some significant injuries and surgeries as well where he missed two entire years basically coming out of college and this past year,” Stephen said. “For him to just grind and understand that he belongs on this level, it’s just we’re going to take a different path. His confidence in himself never wavered.”
Dell said it’s been fun, and exhausting.
The Currys have been jetting around the country for the past month on commercial flights, back and forth between Oakland, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver and Houston to see their sons play. They’ve attended 21 of their sons’ combined 24 playoff games, only missing two Blazers first-round games in Oklahoma City and one second-round game in Denver.
Sometimes, Dell and Sonya wake up in a hotel unsure of what city they’re in.
“Everybody says to us, ‘You guys have to be tired,'" Dell said. “I’m like, ‘Well, we’ll probably sleep for a week when it’s over.'"