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Stephen Curry's rise from taffy-ankled weakling to the most entertaining NBA MVP ever

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Four years ago, the question was whether Stephen Curry would be healthy enough to play in the NBA at all. Here's how he became the game's best player and showman.

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Head down, eyes rimmed with tears, Stephen Curry crawled to the sideline in a December exhibition game against the Sacramento Kings in 2011. The 161-day NBA lockout had just ended a few days prior and preseason had just begun. Curry was defending rookie Jimmer Fredette before a crossover by the Kings guard led to Curry spraining his right ankle at the top of the key. Once he made it to the bench, Curry clung onto the shoulders of two teammates as they walked him back to the locker room, an all too familiar scene.

Curry's first few years in the NBA reads more like a Sisyphean tragedy than the start of a superstar career. He was unanimously voted into the rookie all-star game in a freshman year where he averaged 17.5 points and 5.9 assists a game, coming second to Tyreke Evans in the Rookie of the Year race. Despite the lingering doubts about his size and physicality, he had rolled the boulder up the hill.

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Then the tricky guard felt the collapse of his hard work. While pushing the ball up against the San Antonio Spurs in Dec. of 2010, Curry rolled his right ankle as he tried to pivot at the perimeter. He would then go on to sprain that same ankle another seven times that season, missing eight games total. Surgery was performed at the end of the year in order to reattach and strengthen the torn and ravaged ligaments. He averaged 19 points and six assists, but the cost had been severe.

The next year, the burden almost crushed him and the prospects of a lengthy career completely. After the injury against the Kings, he sprained the same ankle again in the second game of the season against the Chicago Bulls. Then again, then a strained tendon, then another sprain. The injuries piled up so much that Curry only appeared in 26 games total in 2011-2012. His season was ended by another surgery to repair the damaged right ankle.

Stephen Curry was now deep in the pool of wasted talents whose names are whispered by talking heads daydreaming about what could have been. The belief now was that the Warriors should cut their losses. No matter his talent -- and it was abundant -- one can not place the weight of a franchise on a man whose ankles were held together by nuts, bolts and prayers.

Golden State relented and gave Curry a four-year, $44 million contract extension at the start of 2012-13 season. It was the ultimate vote of confidence. Curry, for his part, had spent the offseason searching everywhere under the heavens for a solution to his paper mâché ankle. He had studies done on his running stride. He spoke with numerous ankle and foot specialists. He tried various braces. He did everything barring hiring a witch doctor in order to solve the mystery of his weak ankles.

But just as Sisyphus managed to cheat death and live a long life, so too did Curry conquer his own tragedy. A pair of form-fitting braces, the AD-DX style, by a company named Zamst would be the catalyst to his rebirth. He wears one on each ankle in every game. Since then, Curry has barely missed any time. Even in the rare moments that there is a flash of panic, the damage is usually minimal and the recovery rather quick.

With his health intact, the baby-faced assassin went on a tear through the basketball world. His signature game came in the arena where legends make stake their claim to greatness: Madison Square Garden. Curry went nuclear on a good -- right?! -- New York Knicks team in February 2013. He exploded for 54 points while making 11-of-13 attempted three-pointers, just one shy of the record for threes made in a single game held by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall.

The message on his shoes before the game was as foreboding as possible:

The next season, Curry went full nova. He broke Jason Richardson's franchise record for most three-pointers in a career, with 701. He also finished the season averaging 24 points and 8.5 assists a game. This led to him being voted into his first NBA All-Star Game as a starter, while also being placed on the All-NBA second team.

He appeared in the third playoff series of his career against the Clippers. In that series, he lost his mind and hit seven three-pointers in Game 4. He finished with 33 points, and while the Warriors would lose again, it was clear that the grimacing, mouth-guard chewing, prepubescent-like point guard was a legitimate problem. And he was barely heating up.

This year, he became a heat-check personified. His performances ranged from 'oh, he's really trying to embarrass these dudes' to 'did he just shoot that from center court?' Curry brutalized individual opponents in increasingly superhuman ways en route to breaking his own record for threes made in a single season.

He eviscerated the Lakers twice -- dropped 38 on Memphis -- and put human wrecking ball Russell Westbrook on ice several times during the season; turned Damian Lillard into Bambi to the tune of 45 points; made Mark Cuban a witness to a crime scene, as he unloaded everything in his holster in a 51-point game against the Mavericks; won the head-to-head battle against James Harden when they met. He's also helped eliminate Godzilla-like Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans from the playoffs with a three-pointer that defied time, space and logic.

He is inextinguishably lit. NBA League Pass at this stage should just be current and old Warriors games. Vine basically belongs to him, as do the ankles of Chris Paul.

From the almost automatic jumper to the owl-like vision and yo-yo style handles every time he steps on the court, the audience is on-edge in anticipation for magic. He sometimes even turns and walks away while his shots are in midair. That's how confident he is about their accuracy. And they go in. We are witnessing a steady morphing into Johnny Storm.

If his on-court revelations weren't enough, Curry's astonishingly easy to pull for IRL. His jerseys are the highest selling in the NBA. He's as debonair and clean as any mother-in law would want. Drake has put him in rap songs and he's blasting trap music within the Warriors locker room before games. The man has videos of him dancing in the kitchen with his wife to a song that references his deadly accurate shot. Then, he proceeds to cooking with the sauce.

It's difficult to name another player in recent memory that was as capable of both turning your favorite team into a puddle of tears and being silly with you in the next instance. He's personable and the personification of death all in the same bijou frame.

His talent out of college was undeniable and his determination even more fierce. The issue had been that his future seemed out of his hands. If it had been a question of skill and character, it would have been a forgone conclusion like the outcome of his buzzer-beaters, but fate is never that kind. Yet, Curry was tested and he has risen, his torch raised in defiance and lit for our delight.

He is now, in full flow, not only the best shooter in the league but arguably the best of all-time. He has usurped the title of Most Entertaining Player in the NBA. He will be an MVP lock for years to come. Wardell Stephen Curry II's story of heroic triumph over physical limits -- from his own broken ankles to breaking the ankles of unassuming guards -- is more spectacular than anything we ever had the nerve to dream.