The NBA’s introduction of the 3-point shot in 1979 changed the way basketball was played.

Generational talents like Larry Bird, Reggie Miller and Ray Allen established themselves as lethal sharpshooters from long range during the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s. They each displayed the dangers a deep threat posed to defenses with marksman-like accuracy from 3.

For the current generation of high school and college hoopers, that player is Golden State guard Steph Curry.

“Growing up, ever since I’ve been watching him, he’s been my favorite player,” Weslaco High senior guard Andrew Olmeda said. “I do his free-throw routine, so he’s always been a part of my game. He’s a generational-type player — that’s what he is for us.”

Curry became the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers by surpassing Allen’s record of 2,973 made 3s on Dec. 14 against the New York Knicks. The three-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player accomplished the feat in 789 games, 511 fewer than it took Allen to set the mark.

“I never wanted to call myself the greatest shooter until I got this record, so, I’m comfortable saying that now,” Curry said during the postgame news conference after breaking the all-time record.

The game has moved even further outside than the days of Reggie Miller raining 3s on people’s heads with the Indiana Pacers, Donna High boys basketball head coach Manuel Epperson said.

According to, the league-wide 3-point rate (the percentage of all field goal attempts that have come from beyond the arc) has increased in each of the last 10 seasons, rising from 22.2% in 2010-11 to 39.2% last season. And it’s increased more in the last five years than it did in the previous five.

“In the early ’90s, they would work inside-outside. Now, you don’t even see the inside game, everything is outside. (Joel) Embiid can shoot the 3 as well,” Donna High boys basketball head coach Manuel Epperson said. “It’s crazy how the game has evolved. In high school, one of my biggest pet peeves is a kid walks into the gym, hasn’t warmed up and his first shot is a 3. They go straight to the 3-point line and shoot a 3, so that just shows the influence of guys like Curry.”

PSJA North’s Adrian Stewart (33) attempts to shoot over Los Fresnos defender Darius Garcia (10) )during the first half of a Class 31-6A boys bi-district game at PSJA North gymnasium on Friday, Feb.19,2021. ( Delcia Lopez/The Monitor | [email protected])

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who won three NBA championships playing alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago and two more playing for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, has experienced Curry’s influence first hand. Before a Warriors game against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 17, a youth basketball game was being played at TD Garden, the Celtics’ home court.

“We walk in, game’s on, all the guys were watching, all the coaches were watching, and about seven straight possessions, these 10-year-old kids launched 3-pointers and I turned to Steph and said, ‘Steph, this is all your fault,’” Kerr said during a Team USA news conference Wednesday. “All you have to do is look at all the young players coming up, whether they’re 10 years old, 21 or 19 coming into the NBA for the first time, everybody wants to launch from 3, so he’s changed the game probably forever.”


His impact has trickled down to young players who emulate Curry’s slick ball-handling, crafty finishing inside the lane, but most significantly, his shooting from 3.

“That’s what the kids talk about — it’s not about flying like Michael Jordan, it’s shooting like Steph Curry now,” Edinburg Vela boys basketball head coach Lucio Rodriguez said.

During the 2000s, smaller guards crafted their game to match the ankle-breaking, drive-to-the-hoop style of former Philadelphia 76ers great and NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson.

Nowadays, smaller guards like Donna High alum and Our Lady of the Lake player Eddy Epperson, who posted a game with 11-made 3s during a first half against Brownsville Porter during the 2020 season, model their game after the Warriors’ sharpshooter.

“Watching Curry play, coming off screens, pulling it when people don’t come out, and being a smaller player, you have to develop a game like that,” he said. “Once I saw him play, I figured that was the best opportunity for me to score, so I just geared my game after him.”

Curry makes shooting from long range appear effortless. His pregame routine includes shots most wouldn’t imagine taking, yet there’s a method to the madness.

It’s a habit Brownsville St. Joseph junior guard Gerry Martinez, one of the top shooters in the Rio Grande Valley, has introduced to his own game.

“Taking those shots in practice, people may think that it’s a stupid shot, but they’re not there for the unseen hours in the gym getting shots up. Me taking those shots in practice, it makes it comfortable in game,” he said.

The Brownsville St. Joseph Bloodhounds’ Gerry Martinez (2) prepares to shoot a jump shot as Pace Vikings players defend during the Brownsville ISD boys basketball platinum bracket championship game Saturday at Hanna.


There’s games in which it seems Curry, a .431% career shooter from behind the 3-point line, couldn’t miss if he tried.

At times, Warriors opponents appear to be in a close game, then from one minute to the next, are buried by a barrage of Curry 3s as Golden State’s lead balloons. He has recorded 22 games with 10 or more 3-pointers made during his career.

San Perlita senior forward Ely Terry has posted Curry-esque stat lines this season. Terry delivered a 61-point performance at the Flatonia Tournament with 14 made 3-pointers against Fayetteville on Dec. 9. He then topped that number two days later at the same tourney with a 70-point game and 18 made 3-pointers during a win over Nordheim.

“Knowing that when you shoot the ball, it’s probably going to go in, it’s a surreal feeling,” Terry said. “It’s all just about being confident in yourself, knowing that even if I miss a shot, the next one is going in.”

Shooters shoot, as they say.

“With his (Curry’s) range, he can pull it from anywhere, that’s really what I try to bring to my team,” Weslaco’s Olmeda said. “I love seeing his confidence. He’s never scared to shoot, no matter if he misses — he has that never-miss mentality.”

Weslaco High’s Andrew Olmeda (2) attempts a basket against Edinburg Economedes in a Class 6A bi-district matchup at Edinburg Vela High School on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])


During the 2014 preseason, the Houston Rockets hosted Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors at State Farm Arena. Both Epperson and Martinez were in attendance.

Epperson got a picture with Curry, while Martinez shook his hand.

Donna High alum Eddy Epperson with Golden State guard Steph Curry during the Warriors trip to State Farm Arena during the 2014 NBA preseason.

“He gave me a high-five,” Martinez said. “Ever since then, seeing him on TV, seeing him as a little kid, I got a good role model at the perfect time.”

To this generation, one thing is certain — Curry has become an icon who revolutionized the way basketball is played.

“Curry’s something different. He changed the game of basketball,” Martinez said. “He made an impact for the future forever. I think he’s definitely up there with the all-time greats.”

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