Curry was born on December 5, 1982, in Harvey, IL. Standing at 7 feet tall and weighing about 300 pounds during his playing days, Baby Shaq’s imposing presence and deft shooting touch made him a promising talent but various struggles kept him from reaching his full potential.
At Thornwood High School in South Holland, Illinois, Curry quickly gained recognition as one of the top high school players in the nation. After an outstanding high school career, he skipped college and declared for the 2001 NBA Draft.
The Chicago Bulls selected Curry fourth overall, but jumping straight into the NBA fire was a tough adjustment for the 19-year-old Curry. He told Mayberry, “I think it was a time when I don’t think the NBA was ready for that. […] I get to see all of the programs that they’ve got going on for players. And it’s stuff that they’re doing now that was just not available then. I think they left a lot up to the teams to educate their players.”
He added, “I had no idea I was being affected by mental health and I may have needed to speak to someone. Or how to speak to someone and who to talk to. […] So a part of what I do now besides the financial talk is letting guys know that the help is there and you do have an impartial person who doesn’t want anything from you but for you to operate at the best self that you can.”
He played for Chicago from 2001 to 2005, where he showcased his scoring ability and shot-blocking skills. During that period, he showed improvement each year and finished with averages of almost 12 points, five boards, and one block per game, while shooting 53% from the field.
In Chicago, Curry experienced symptoms of heart arrhythmia, occasionally suffering from chest pains and lightheadedness in games. The Bulls became cautious about the severity of Curry’s heart condition, which contributed to their decision not to re-sign him. “I’m, like, ‘Man, I wish I would have just shut my mouth. And of course, it’s the whole hindsight 20/20 thing,” Curry told Mayberry. “But it’s just one of those things. It turns out to be nothing. A benign thing. And it’s like I could have just shut up and who knows what would have happened then?”
After the heart scare, the Bulls cooled their talks with Curry’s camp about a contract extension. The Denver Nuggets and the Knicks emerged as the two teams that were willing to take a chance on his health.
In October 2005, Chicago traded Eddy with Antonio Davis and a 2007 first-round draft pick to the Knicks for Jermaine Jackson, Mike Sweetney, Tim Thomas, a 2006 first-round draft pick (LaMarcus Aldridge was later selected), a 2007 first-round draft pick (which became Joakim Noah), a 2007 second-round draft pick (became Kyrylo Fesenko) and a 2009 second-round draft pick (became Jon Brockman).
The Knicks expected Curry to become a cornerstone of the team’s offense and to be impactful as a dominant low-post scorer—a franchise center, as Patrick Ewing had been for the team throughout the nineties.
However, Eddy Curry’s time with the Knicks, spanning from 2005 to 2010, was marked by moments of promise and challenge. His first three years in New York were largely productive ones, and the highlights were thrilling. There was his 43-point, overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks on 17-for-20 shooting, including a three-pointer (!) and 13 rebounds (April 7, 2007). And here’s his 29-point game against the Bobcats:
During the 2006-07 season, his best with the Knicks and first under head coach Isaiah Thomas, Curry produced almost 20 points per night and started 81 games. At the next training camp, however, Curry arrived dramatically overweight, and problems snowballed from there.
Over his final two years in New York, Curry would play only ten games, and enthusiasm for him waned. In a 2022 interview, Curry blamed knee injuries on his downturn and told Vlad TV, “I kinda like tweaked my knee at the end of the [2006-07] season, and I thought it was no big deal. And, I tried to keep the same regimen that I normally would have which is, I would chill. Half the summer, I would just chill, really, just let my body bounce back for the summer, and I would just go hard right before the season started.”
But, he admitted, “It was hard to bounce back. At that point, I think we got Z-Bo (Zach Randolph), we just really kinda didn’t mesh well together. That alone and the all the off-court shit man, it takes a toll on you.”
His ongoing weight and conditioning problems affected his consistency and availability, causing frustration among Knicks management. Fans were not pleased by the product on the floor, either. “They were booing us every night at the Garden,” added Curry.
Curry’s time in New York was also marred by personal challenges, including the murder of his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Nova Henry, and their 10-month-old daughter in 2009. The tragedy profoundly impacted his life and career.
Overall, during his tenure with the Knicks, Curry averaged 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in 222 games for the Knicks. In February 22, 2011, as part of a 3-team trade, Curry, Anthony Randolph, and cash were traded the Minnesota Timberwolves; among other incoming players (Chauncey B!), the Knicks would receive Carmelo Anthony.
Eddy went on to have brief stints with several other NBA teams, including the Miami Heat, where he won a championship in 2012. His career spanned over a decade, during which he displayed flashes of brilliance but ultimately never lived up to his potential. His Hall of Fame probability rests at an even 0.0%.
Beyond basketball, Eddy Curry has been involved in philanthropic efforts and community outreach programs, particularly in his hometown of Chicago. Today, Eddy Curry’s legacy is remembered not only for his basketball skills but also for his commitment to his community and young athletes. His NBA journey serves as a testament to both the potential and challenges that can come with being a highly-touted young talent in professional sports, and he seems to be healing himself by helping others.
In the Vlad TV interview, Curry said his relationship with the Knicks fanbase has healed. “They still show me love when I go to New York. I understand what it’s like to have your favorite team and just want them to win. If you’re helping us win, great, I’m your number one fan. But if you’re not, get the hell out the way. I get it man, I’m not mad at all.”