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Home court advantage

By Shelley Stockton | Photography by Kristin Vining Photography

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

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Former Davidson College basketball star and current NBA player Stephen Curry has already fulfilled many of his dreams as a professional athlete. But surely the biggest thrill of his life happened last summer when he married his girlfriend, Ayesha Alexander. The two lovebirds tied the knot in July a few months after they moved into their new house in Waxhaw.

“It was great to be settled in before the wedding,” says Ayesha, a former actress and model. “Plus we had plenty of room for our wedding party to stay with us.”

Ayesha and Stephen met in youth group at the Central Church of God in Charlotte, where both their families attended church. “It’s funny, our parents used to make jokes about how cute we were together, but we didn’t know,” says Stephen.

Ayesha remembers when she found out she and Stephen had both lived in Toronto and loved the same Canadian candy. “I got him some fuzzy peaches, but I was so shy I didn’t say anything. I just handed them to him and walked off.” Stephen admits to being equally shy, but that he was always aware when Ayesha was around.

The first date

After high school Ayesha moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. While Stephen was in L.A. for basketball camp he sent her a Facebook message to hang out. “She tried to play me off, saying we could hang out another time if I was ever back in town,” Stephen says. “She didn’t know I was coming back the next week.”

The two Charlotteans spent their first date running around Hollywood drinking chai tea lattes and taking pictures with Marilyn Monroe impersonators. Once Ayesha moved home to Charlotte, the two officially started dating.

At the time, Stephen was still attending Davidson College and playing for the college’s Wildcats basketball team. But in 2009 he decided to move up to the NBA and was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in California. Stephen’s father, Dell, also played for the NBA, and now works as a commentator for the Charlotte Bobcats.

While playing in the NBA is an exciting opportunity, Stephen says his time at Davidson College, including playing for basketball coach Bob McKillop, remains very special to him.

“I had a pretty nice journey,” he says.

That journey included the Wildcat’s 2008 season, when the team made a historic run during the NCAA Tournament. While the Wildcats lost their bid to reach the Final Four, that season catapulted Davidson College and Curry into the national spotlight.

“The community was great, “ he says. “They had a parade for us when we went to the Sweet 16 and a reception when we got back. I didn’t even know that many people lived in Davidson.”

Popping the question

While Stephen’s basketball career was taking off, his relationship with Ayesha was also going strong. After a couple of years of dating, Stephen decided it was time to propose. On the big day, he first picked her up to take her to his sister’s volleyball game.

“He showed up dressed all nice, with a fresh haircut and cool sunglasses,” Ayesha remembers.

After the game, the couple dropped by Stephen’s parents’ house under the reuse of picking up a board game. As they were walking up the driveway, Stephen suddenly stopped and turned to Ayesha.

“He asked me if I knew where we were standing. It was the spot where we had our first kiss,” she says. “He pulled me close and started saying all these sweet things and then dropped down on one knee. I was in a state of shock.”

“She looked at the ring and asked if it was real,” Stephen laughs. “The next thing I knew people were screaming from inside the house. All of our family was inside waiting, it was awesome.”

A day to remember

Both Ayesha and Stephen wanted a traditional wedding at Central Church of God in Charlotte, where they both attended growing up. On the day of the ceremony, the bride wore a taffeta, drop-waist Amsale gown with a long, custom-made veil. Her bouquet had white peonies, roses and stephanotis flowers to honor her groom.

To complete her elegant ensemble, Stephen’s brother, Seth, delivered a pair of earrings to his future sister-in-law. “They were perfect,” she says. Stephen’s mother, Sonya, gave the blushing bride a handkerchief with a “C” on it that Ayesha used during the ceremony.

When the doors to the church opened, an emotional Ayesha, firmly grasping her father’s hand, made her way down the aisle. Stephen says he was overwhelmed at the sight of his bride.

“That was the best part of the ceremony. I still have that picture of her in my head.”

For the reception, the couple chose the grand ballroom of the Ballantyne Hotel, which could accommodate the 420 friends and family on the guest list. To set the stage, the ballroom was covered in beautiful gray and white decorations and floating tea candles to create a romantic atmosphere. Guests enjoyed an elegant dinner and band Cheap Thrills kept the party going with a mix of old school and slow jams.

In lieu of wedding gifts, the bride and groom requested donations be made to ThanksUSA, an organization that provides scholarships to families in the military. Stephen says that, like his father, he and Ayesha would like to one day to start their own philanthropic foundation together.

The newlyweds enjoyed a 10-day honeymoon on the French Polynesia island Bora Bora before returning home. Ayesha is finishing up her business degree online and has plans to open her own business, possibly in Myers Park, Ballantyne or South Park. Stephen is looking forward to getting back on the basketball court now that the NBA lockout has ended.

The couple recently announced that they are expecting their first baby sometime in the fall.

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