According to various studies, the US adult population will be nearly 50% obese in 2030. It would be safe to include Eddy Curry in the demographic. The 29 year old center is jobless, in part to a decade-long struggle with buffet addiction. Curry’s avidity for food helped him cope with personal tragedies throughout his career, but he faces a crossroads after playing only 24 NBA games since 2008. Following a failed tryout with Brooklyn in August, it’s now or never to contact Jenny Craig and resume filling buckets.
The McDonald’s All American MVP was drafted 4th overall out of Thornwood High School in 2001 by Chicago, who were looking to rebuild their frontline with Curry and fellow prep star Tyson Chandler. The hometown hero drew loose comparisons to Shaquille O’Neal for his wide frame and sneaky athleticism.
Through Curry’s first 3 seasons, the Bulls vaunted a 30% winning percentage, but the young roster developed chemistry in 2004 as the team went 47-35 while the big produced 16.1 points on 53.8% shooting. His per 36 minute rate of 6.7 rebounds was a major concern, however, which frustrated coaches. When asked how Curry could improve his glass cleaning, coach Scott Skiles remarked, “jump.” He appeared lazy on defense as well.
Then Curry’s career took an unexpected turn. He missed the playoffs due to an irregular heartbeat, and the organization held concerns that he was susceptible to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Bulls GM John Paxton requested Curry take a DNA test to trump the issue, but the center puzzlingly refused, despite the franchise’s willingness to give him $20 million for a medical retirement.
As a result, Chicago inked Curry to a 6 year, $60 million deal and immediately dealt him to New York in a 5 player sign-and-trade blockbuster. In 2005, the former lottery pick butted heads with coach Larry Brown, but successor Isiah Thomas used the big as his primary offensive option. It paid dividends, as Curry averaged a career high 19.5 points and 7 rebounds in 81 contests. Defensive deficiencies be damned, the Knicks acquired Zach Randolph in the offseason to form a lethal scoring duo.
And as you would expect with a Rush Limbaugh/Rosie O’Donnell team effort, the duo performed poorly to earn 23 regular season victories. Thomas was fired, and Mike D’Antoni installed his trademark run-and-gun philosophy. Ironically, Curry arrived to 2008 training camp visibly overweight, which provoked the coach to remove the big from his rotation. Conditioning problems and a nagging knee injury limited the pro to 3 games.
Making things worse, Curry’s personal life was crumbling. On January 12, 2009, he was sued by former chauffeur David Kuchinsky for sexual harassment, racist comments and unpaid salaries. While Kuchinsky was a prior felon and his word meant little, the news sealed the center’s reputation in New York.
13 days later, Curry’s 9 month old daughter and ex-girlfriend were murdered in Chicago. Noah, his 3 year old son, witnessed the killings but was physically unharmed.
In a moment so devastating, Curry may have turned to illegal drugs or alcohol, but he suppressed his feelings with food. No one could blame him, but his NBA career continued to trickle down the tubes.
Added pounds and a hamstring injury limited Curry to 62 minutes in the 2009 campaign. His game needed significant fine-tuning, but he reinjured himself whenever he stomped on the practice floor.
In 2010, Curry again checked in overweight, and he was stored in the Knicks’ dog house. (Do draft busts ever learn?) At the trading deadline, he was shipped to Minnesota and subsequently waived.
Thankfully, an alarm went off in Curry’s head, and he hired renowned trainer Tim Grover. By this time, the basketball player was reportedly near 400 pounds. Miami took a sniff, but they instructed him to shed baggage if he wanted to play. Curry responded by losing 100 pounds, and the Heat picked him up as a reserve. He now has a championship ring to show.
Miami said thank you and good riddance, and today Curry can’t even hustle a training camp invite. His work in 2011 went to waste. Who saw this coming? Definitely not Curry. Perhaps an ounce of effort on defense and the boards would go a long way to landing an NBA gig.
We should ask if Curry holds a passion for basketball, like a Kobe or LeBron. According to his father 4 years ago, “Curry aspired to be a gymnast and did not pick up basketball until the seventh grade when he reluctantly went out for the school team. For a long time, Eddy hated basketball.” If John Paxton or Isiah Thomas knew this, would they have bet their jobs on the free spirit? Parents seem to have the answers.
So 5 years before Curry was drafted, he hated basketball. Many things change in such a short span, but this is an enormous red flag, particularly after his contract extension. At least now that the 7′, 300(?) pound center is unemployed, he can pursue his interests outside of basketball. Gymnastics is over, but how about a career in Sumo wrestling? Curry would be the ultimate prototype.