Scott Fowler

Exclusive: Dell Curry on Steph staying put, Dwight Howard, meaning of ‘BoYaNek’ tattoo

Dell Curry, the Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, is now a TV broadcaster for the team.
Dell Curry, the Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, is now a TV broadcaster for the team.

Dell Curry has taken quite a ride the past two months.

The Charlotte Hornets’ all-time leading scorer is now a Hornets broadcaster, as well as the father of two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry. Since the Hornets’ season ended, Dell Curry has mostly been staying in California with his family and watching the Golden State Warriors win the NBA championship. Along the way, Dell Curry ran into Dwight Howard at the NBA Finals and also got the first – and last – tattoos of his life. Here are excerpts from our interview.

Q: All right, let’s get this out of the way first for all the Hornets fans pining for Steph Curry. What are the chances that Steph re-signs as a free agent with Golden State?

A: Very, very high. It’s not a 100 percent chance until it’s done, but it’s close to that. I know he is very high on their list of priorities and I imagine it (the re-signing) would happen in early July.

Q: What do you think about the Hornets’ trade for Dwight Howard?

A: Charlotte hasn’t had anyone like him since the days of Alonzo Mourning, who I played with toward the beginning of Zo’s career. Dwight is still a presence in the middle, a rim protector and a rebounder. He can’t play the minutes that he used to, of course. But he and Cody Zeller do very different things and can both be effective. I like the fact that Cliff (Hornets coach Steve Clifford) had Dwight in Orlando and knows his temperament.

Q: Howard said recently that he was working on his three-point shooting. Do you think that’s a realistic idea?

A: The funny thing is that I ran into Dwight at the NBA Finals, at one of the games in Cleveland, just a few days ago. We walked into the arena together and I laughed and said, ‘If you need someone to help you on your threes, I’m available.’

If he’s going to improve his shooting, though, I think Cliff would probably rather Dwight make all his free throws then try to turn into a three-point shooter.

Q: OK, so you got a tattoo in celebration of the Warriors’ championship. Tell me about that.

A: I actually got two tattoos, and they were the first tattoos and will be the last tattoos of my life. One is the word ‘Curry’ in Hebrew, and we all got that – me, my wife, Ayesha (Steph’s wife) and our three kids (Steph, Seth and Sydel). I’m not going to lie to you – it hurt. But the tattoos were so small that every time, right when I was about to tell the tattoo artist to stop, he would finish a letter and lift up.

So the second tattoo was something my daughter talked me into – it was a big year for her since she just graduated from Elon. She said we should get a matching ‘BoYaNek’ tattoo – I got it on my right forearm and she got it on her bicep.

I gave him his first tattoo... at the end of the night, i gave hime his second... #boyanek

A post shared by Yup! Its me, Niño (@zappyzip) on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:12am PDT

Q: That, of course, makes everyone want to know what ‘BoYaNek’ means. Is that a foreign-language tattoo as well?

A: Ha! No, it’s a saying from my Dad. I’m from kind of a rural area in Virginia and my Dad – Wardell Jack Curry – used to say that when things got tough you’ve got to ‘Bow your neck.’ That means you have to get tough, get busy, that sort of thing. So I adopted that saying and I would tell the kids that sometimes when things got tough.

Q: What should the Hornets do with pick No. 11 in the first round given the Howard trade?

A: They lost a good perimeter shooter in Marco Belinelli in the Howard deal, so I would think getting another wing who can shoot might be a priority. If Malik Monk would drop to No. 11, that’d be great. They have to bolster the bench somehow and get someone who can play immediately as part of that bench.

Q: So you and Steph are in Hawaii as we speak? Tell me about that.

A: We came out to Hawaii, just the two of us, to play some golf. I feel pretty great, because I shot a 77 over 18 holes yesterday and beat him by two. I needed to win, because he’s been clipping me quite a bit the last few times we have played. Then I had to play another ‘emergency’ nine holes – that’s when you play nine more because you’re playing well. So we went at it for those nine holes, too, and I shot two-over and he shot three-over. My birthday is Sunday – I turn 53 – so it’s possible he was just making me feel good.

Q: When will you be back home in Charlotte again?

A: I should be back (Thursday). It’s time to get back to reality. My dog must hate me – I’ve been home about three days in the past two months. I came home for my daughter’s graduation, and that was about it. It just was easier to stay in California between the playoff games as opposed to flying back and forth. Steph has no plans to be back in Charlotte soon unfortunately – when you play that deep into the playoffs, there are a lot of things you have to take care of afterward.