Bard talks connection to NBA great

June 30th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding's Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard grew up in Charlotte, cheering for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and their outside shooting legend Dell Curry. One of Bard’s high school thrills was noticing that one of his favorite athletes was following his baseball career at Charlotte Christian High School.

Turns out Dell Curry -- father of NBA superstar Steph Curry of the Warriors, and the younger Seth Curry, who is accomplished on the court, himself -- was drafted in baseball (Orioles, 14th round in 1985 out of Virginia Tech) before achieving basketball fame, mostly with the Charlotte Hornets. A fan of Curry as a basketball player, Bard was pleasantly surprised to see him around the baseball field.

“I remember him watching a bullpen or two that I threw my senior year,” Bard said. “He’d come out of practice. Steph was a freshman at the time. I don’t think Steph played any baseball. I might be wrong. But Dell would come out and watch us.

Dell Curry did realize a baseball dream in 1991. George Shinn, who owned the Hornets, arranged for Curry to pitch for another team he owned, the Class A Gastonia (N.C.) Rangers. Muggsy Bogues, the 5-foot-3 Hornets point guard, played second base (0-for-2). Curry pitched three innings, struck out four and gave up a run on three hits and a walk.

“He said he wished baseball would have worked out for him," Bard said. "I said, ‘Ah, it worked pretty well for you.’ He was an NBA legend. I grew up watching the Hornets. At the time I knew who Steph was, but I had no idea he was going to become what he would become -- which is pretty awesome.”