Davidson's Curry returns favor, goes to watch LeBron play

Updated: April 2, 2008, 10:20 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The bus carrying LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled into the arena at the same time Stephen Curry and his father arrived Wednesday night.

And despite all of King James' magazine covers, the commercials and NBA accomplishments, the baby-faced Davidson star was getting all the attention.

Returning the favor after James watched Curry score 33 points in Davidson's upset of Wisconsin last week in the NCAA tournament, Curry was on hand to watch James and the Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 118-114.

[+] EnlargeStephen Curry
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonDavidson's Stephen Curry put up some LeBron James-like numbers in the NCAA tournament.

"It was kind of a shock when I saw him up in Detroit," said Curry before the game while wearing a pair of James' line of shoes. "The timing of him having a game in Charlotte right after the tournament is kind of cool."

Curry and James talked briefly in the tunnel as they entered the arena together. Curry said James complimented him and his teammate, point guard Jason Richards, for their magical run. Davidson, the small, liberal-arts school 20 miles north of Charlotte, was a 3-pointer away from reaching the Final Four for the first time.

"He's good, a very good basketball player," said James, who scored 29 points before fouling out. "He's a very good kid, too. I think it's exciting for him, what he was able to do for that university. It put that university on the map."

Curry immediately started getting the celebrity treatment when he walked into the arena. Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace patted him on the back and congratulated him. Curry then was doing an interview with the Cavaliers' television network when Cleveland coach Mike Brown barged in, telling him how his 13-year-old son Elijah was a big fan of him.

"He was fun to watch," Brown said. "My son enjoyed him and I think he can be a favorite for young kids because, and this is not offensive, it's good, he looks so boyish in his face."

It's been part of a whirlwind three weeks for the sweet-shooting Curry, who burst onto the national scene by scoring 30, 40, 33 and 25 points in four NCAA tournament games. But the sophomore couldn't get an open look in the closing seconds in the Midwest Regional final, and Richards missed a game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer in Kansas' 59-57 win Sunday night.

"Not going to the gym for practice is kind of weird," Curry said. "But it's kind of sunk in what we did and I'm trying to get back into the normal flow of life."

Nothing seemed normal Wednesday night, as people lined up to congratulate him. After he walked up the aisle after doing a TV interview on the floor in the first half, the fans around stood and cheered. There was another loud cheer when he was shown on the video board late in the game.

"This is crazy," Curry said as he walked back to his seat after signing an autograph for a little kid.

Curry's become a bona fide college star, and James dismissed questions that Curry will have trouble at the NBA level because of his slight frame.

"You look at a guy like Kevin Martin who's in our league. He's 20-plus points a game. He's very good. He's not big, he's not the fastest guy, it doesn't matter," James said. "If you can play the game of basketball, you can be in this league. He definitely knows how to do that."

James then perked up when he was told Curry was born in Akron, Ohio, James' hometown. Curry's father, former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, was playing for the Cavaliers when Stephen was born.

"I didn't know that," James said. "That's why he's good."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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