It was noticeably absent Thursday during Warriors’ 120-108 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 and for the first time in the six years Steph Curry has played in the NBA Finals.
His parents, once a staple of the NBA Finals broadcast during crowd shots, no longer are sitting side-by-side.
“Obviously they were very compelling,’’ said Jimmy Moore, who retired last year as ESPN’s director of the NBA Finals after 15 years of overseeing the broadcasts. “Steph Curry and his family were compelling TV. There’s so much news out there right now that’s negative and bad. To have something positive like that to connect to, it just felt good and that’s what I like about it.
“You want that happy ending.’’
There will be no happy ending.
Sonya Curry, 56, and Dell Curry, 57, divorced in November after 33 years of marriage. Each accused the other of infidelity.
Less than three weeks later, at Madison Square Garden, Curry broke Ray Allen’s NBA all-time record for 3-pointers with the 2,974th of his career.
His parents were not side-by-side.
“I had to make sure I was in that moment with both of them separately and this wasn’t just this whole kind of thing,” Curry later told The Ringer. “That is how I choose to approach that. Because it is challenging."
Curry also said, “I could be mad and be like, ‘Y’all effed this up.’ I could have that approach. But it’s going to be an acknowledgment of both of y’all in terms of how y’all raised me. The calmness I have in myself is because of y’all.”
Divorce records spell out their acrimonious split.
Sonya Curry filed for divorce in June 2021 and said it was “provoked and justified” by Dell Curry’s misconduct.
She said Dell committed “illicit sexual misconduct” with different women during their marriage and that infidelity was known to the family and to close friends of the parties, according to the divorce records.
In response, Dell Curry, the former NBA player, accused Sonya Curry of having an affair with Steven Johnson, a former tight end with the New England Patriots. According to the divorce records, Dell Curry said Sonya Curry started the affair during their marriage and “lied each time she cheated.”
According to the divorce records, Dell Curry also said Sonya had been living with Johnson, 56, at his 11,674-square foot residence in Bristol, Tennessee, since she and Dell Curry separated in March 2020. That, Dell Curry stated in the filings, would prevent Sonya from receiving spousal support from the date cohabitation commenced.
Sonya Curry denied she lived with Johnson and said she lived in several places alone because Dell Curry refused to let her stay in their house in Charlotte. She said she “currently was in a dating relationship” which began months after the parties agreed to legally separate.
The Currys and Steven Johnson attended Virginia Tech together in the 1980s when Dell Curry was a star on the basketball team, Sonya Curry played volleyball and Steven played on the football team. Bobby Beecher, one of Curry’s teammates at Virginia Tech, said Dell Curry and Johnson knew each other because they both lived in the athletic dorms.
Johnson, who was married to a former Miss Virginia USA before the couple divorced in 2011, declined to comment when reached by USA TODAY Sports.
Dell Curry did not respond to interview requests. Sonya Curry declined to talk through the HarperOne, publisher of her recently released memoir, “Fierce Love.’’
Over the years, it’s been easy to find them together, often with their children – Steph, Seth and their youngest child, daughter Sydel.
Such as the week of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte when Sonya Curry made a halfcourt shot and she jumped into Dell Curry’s arms in exultation. Or in 2020 when they teamed up as hosts of the podcast, “Raising Fame.’’
They were eminently qualified, having by that point raised a perennial All-Star, another NBA player and a daughter who played volleyball at Elon University in North Carolina. But Sonya Curry’s memoir offers details of struggles, stress and successes in her marriage.
The first time they got pregnant, before they were married, they decided to abort the baby. In 1987, pregnant for a second time, they planned on another abortion.
They were parked outside of a Planned Pregnancy clinic and just minutes from an appointment before they decided to keep the baby, according to the memoir. They named the baby Wardell Stephen Curry II, better known as Steph.
After Dell Curry joined the Charlotte Hornets in 1988, their marriage suffered.
“Dell is gone,” Sonya Curry wrote. “Traveling with the team. He seems to be on the road more than he’s at home. When he is home, we seem to pass each other without seeing each other. Missing each other. We don’t appear to occupy the same space at the same time. I don’t feel estranged. I feel distant. Disconnected. Alone. Even when he’s here.’”
In 2020, during the first episode of “Raising Fame,” Sonya Curry revealed their marital life had not been perfect.
“Even like with our marriage, we’ve had challenges we haven’t always hid from our children because … there were teaching moments and, you know, they don’t need to know all the details. But we didn’t hide a lot of things because what we don’t want them to do is think everything’s rosy and get out in the world and then it smacks them in the face.”
During the NBA Finals from 2015 to 2019, Mike and Ellen Wallau of Palo Alto sat in Row 7 Section 101 – one row in front of the Sonya and Dell Curry.
“Good, normal people and always very gracious and nice,” Mike Wallau said. “From the first time they sat there, we were high-fiving them.”
This year the Warriors played Game 1 of the Finals in the Chase Center, the team’s new home arena. Dell Curry was spotted near the court before the game.
Sonya was nowhere to be seen.
“I think it’s a good example that nobody is exempt from the problems that we all face in life,” Mike Wallau said. “And that certainly it might seem like other people’s lives are so perfect, but really I think life is an inside job, and you can’t go by how it looks on the outside.’’
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steph Curry's parents Dell and Sonya both allege infidelity in divorce