On Thursday night, Steph Curry will begin playing in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. But when he takes the court at Oracle Arena for the Warriors’ game against the Cavaliers, he’s going to look different—much different—than he has in past years.
Back in 2015, Curry walked onto the court for Game 1 of the NBA Finals looking like this:
In 2016, he looked like this:
But in 2017, he will look like—whoa—this?
Sometime around the NBA All-Star break back in February—more on this later—Curry decided that he was going to try and grow a beard, even though he’s spent most of his college and NBA careers playing the role of the "Baby Faced Assassin." And it’s left a lot of fans wondering what the deal is with it. Did he grow his beard to try and assume the role of a villain now that he’s playing on what has become one of the most hated teams in the NBA? Did he grow it because he got tired of people telling him he looks like he’s 12 without it? Or did he just grow it to grow it like a lot of other men in the world do?
So many questions, so few answers! But during an appearance on Good Morning America on Thursday morning, Curry spoke briefly about the beard and suggested that it’s most likely here to stay. So we thought we would help everyone get used to it by trying to answer some of the questions people have had about it over the course of the last few months. The beard looks like it’s probably going to end up on this list before it’s all said and done. But for now, we’re all going to have to get used to seeing it all over our TV screens during the NBA Finals, so let’s do our best to get comfortable with it, painful as it might be. Let’s get started…
When Did Curry Start Growing His Beard?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when Curry decided he was going to give his razor a rest and let his facial hair grow. During his GMA interview this week, he said that he started letting it grow about four months ago, which would put the start date around the beginning of February. But in this photo, which was taken on January 2 during a game against the Trail Blazers, you can see he was sporting a 5 o’clock shadow well before February started:
However, it appears he shaved his beard sometime around the All-Star break:
Before letting it grow again:
Whatever the case, it has become pretty clear that Curry hasn’t done any extensive grooming since then, so his beard has evolved from this in late March:
To this in April:
And finally, to this in May:
The question now isn’t when did this start. It’s when is it going to stop?
Why Did He Do It?
While we don’t know exactly when Curry decided to start growing his beard, we do know why he decided to randomly grow one at the age of 29. And it’s the same reason that most men, er, make that teenage boys decide to grow one: Because he finally could.
For years now, Curry has been able to grow hair on different parts of his face, but he hasn’t been able to put together a full beard. But according to his GMA interview, he finally realized he could do it last fall. So there was only one thing left for him to do.
"I always wanted to grow a beard just to say I could," he said. "I could never get it to connect on this side right here. I had this piece that was always—just this side. About six months ago, it started to connect so I got a little carried away with it and made up my own reason to have a playoff beard. So this is four months of hard work and perseverance."
What Does Everyone Think About It?
The reviews on Curry’s beard were mixed initially. There were a whole lot of people who were confused about what was going on since he didn’t let it be known that he had any intention of growing a beard:
Next, Curry’s beard started to become a beacon of hope for all of the other guys out there who have struggled to grow beards:
But it wasn’t long before there jokes started to come out:
The jokes stopped once he shaved in February:
But it was only temporary. Once the beard made its return a short time later, the jokes did, too. And this time, people took it to another level and made one joke in particular over and over again:
Yikes. And the jokes haven’t let up since:
You get the point. Curry’s beard is not a fan favorite.
More Importantly, What Does His Wife Think About It?
Story time: My brother has a beard. He’s getting married on Saturday. His wife-to-be hates the beard. Therefore, he’s going to be shaving it on Friday before he walks down the aisle (send your condolences—and marriage tips—here).
The point of this story? If your wife doesn’t like what’s growing on your face, she will let you know about it. So given the response Curry’s beard has received, you might think that it would only be a matter of time before his wife Ayesha handed him a razor and told him it was time to do something about it.
But as it turns out, Ayesha might actually be the reason the beard exists in the first place. Outside of growing a beard just to prove to himself that he could do it, Curry also recently admitted that he’s kept the beard as long as he has in part because his wife loves it:
Yeah, that beard isn’t going anywhere.
Is He Ever Going to Shave It?
During his interview with GMA, Curry was asked if there’s any way he will show up to a Finals game without his beard. His response: "Not a chance."
But it seems like he would have to do something with his beard once the Finals are over, regardless of whether the Warriors win or lose, no?
If Golden State wins, Curry will likely make a bunch of public appearances and land a couple new endorsement deals, which might mean the end of the beard. And if they lose, it’ll only be a matter of time before Curry wants to distance himself from everything associated with the 2016-17 season. So enjoy the beard and the jokes that come along with it while you still can, because it probably won’t be here for much longer.