Warriors star Stephen Curry has 'a lot of family history' in Toronto
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry shoots during practice ahead of the NBA championship finals against the Toronto Raptors, on May 29, 2019. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 7:41AM EDT
TORONTO -- Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry figures to have a large cheering section at NBA Finals games in Toronto.
When asked about his ties to Toronto on NBA Finals media day, Curry started off by talking about his time in the city when his dad, Dell, played for the Raptors from 1999-2002.
But there is, of course, another key connection.
"My wife Ayesha grew up in (the Toronto suburb of) Markham, right down the street," said Curry, who met Ayesha in a Charlotte church, after both had moved to North Carolina.
"So a lot of family history, and that side of the family still lives here. I look forward to coming back here every regular season, and now to be in the NBA Finals it's something I've even been looking forward to if they ever made it. So it's here and I'm going to enjoy it."
Ayesha, an actress, has hosted a show on the Food Network and written a cookbook.
As for Stephen, he's not overly surprised to be in Toronto for the Warriors' fifth consecutive Finals appearance. Game 1 is Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena.
"The last four years, honestly, they have been knocking on the door," Curry said. "You always keep up with what's going on in the other conference through every playoff run, and obviously this year's the year they got over the hump ... You kind of lock in on what that experience is going to be like 1) starting on the road in The Finals, 2) playing against a different team other than Cleveland, because Cleveland and the Finals are pretty synonymous for us with our experience."
While Golden State is in the Finals for the fifth year in a row, the series against the Raptors represents the first time the Warriors are not facing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the championship.
The new scenario appeals to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who had plenty of good things to say about Toronto and its fans on media day.
"It's very different. And it's exciting," Kerr said. "Toronto has always been a favourite stop, a favourite city of mine and I think a lot of people in the NBA. It's a great crowd. I think going way back before I was even coach of the Warriors, when I was doing TV the two arenas that I felt were just the most electric were Oracle (home of the Warriors) and here.
"And you could tell that there was just kind of this organic love and energy and passion for basketball in both places, because neither team was that good, and yet the arenas were filled and there was so much excitement. And I think that the sense now that we have as a team is we can understand, we can feel how important this is to the whole country."
It didn't take long for the Warriors to notice the energy in the city.
Golden State's Kevon Looney got his first taste of the atmosphere as the Warriors made their way to Scotiabank Arena for media day.
"On our way here, walking to the bus, there were probably a couple hundred people outside booing us already. I was excited to see that," he said.
"I know it's going to be crazy in the game. I know Toronto loves their team. They love their players. They love basketball. I'm excited for the city and excited to see what's going to happen."