If you can go by three names, do you really have one?
That's the reality for Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II with his first name, middle name and nickname. The Warriors superstar gets called all three on a daily basis, which the 33-year-old says is solid shorthand for how long he has known someone.
"I think Stephen always was always the go-to until I got to college," Curry told Will Lowery and Doug Smith on this week's "Beyond the Fairway" podcast ahead of the Masters. "And then my college coach at Davidson, Bob McKillop, he, for some reason, I don't know if it was he got tired of calling my name my freshman year because I was making so many mistakes, he just kept saying 'Steph.' So that kind of stuck.
"If you really, really know me, and you want to get under my skin a little bit, you go with Wardell. So there's three options there. There's Stephen, which is -- I kind of know what the relationship is. If you go Wardell, that means we go way back."
Curry burst into the national consciousness during the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament, leading Davidson on a Cinderella run through March Madness. In Davidson's first game of the tournament, former CBS Sports color commentator Billy Packer pronounced "Stephen" like "Stefon."
Curry was as smooth as Steve Urkel's cousin in that contest, leading 10-seeded Davidson to an upset over seventh-seeded Gonzaga with 40 points (on 14-of-22 shooting and 8-of-10 on 3-pointers). Fifteen months later, NBA commissioner David Stern called the eventual two-time NBA MVP as "Stephen" Curry when the Warriors selected the point guard No. 7 overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.
By the time Adam Silver, Stern's successor, presented "Steph" Curry with his second MVP award in 2016, Curry's nickname had started to stick. "Steph" truly started to surpass "Stephen" at the end of 2017, at least in Google searches. Google Trends data from March 2009 through the present that "Stephen Curry" was a more common search term than "Steph Curry" for much of the Warriors' dynasty.
At this point, the internet clearly prefers "Steph." If you've ever looked him up as "Wardell Curry II" in a Google search, just don't let Curry get the receipts.