SAN FRANCISCO – Intensive care unit nurse Shelby Delaney has depended on Stephen Curry's “I Can Do All Things” go-to motivational verse so many times over the years.
Those words from the Bible are written inside the No. 30 jersey of Curry's that she has worn beneath her scrubs day after day to get through each daunting moment of the pandemic. Now, she has another incredible option: Curry took the game-worn uniform off his back Sunday night after scoring 37 points in a win over Sacramento, signed it and gave it to this extra-special essential worker. He then scurried down the tunnel shirtless heading to the locker room.
Delaney's husband, Robert Crowley, threw his hands in the air urging fans to cheer.
“So cool. He’s an incredible human being,” Delaney said afterward. “One of the greatest nights of my life hands down.”
Last spring, Curry made a FaceTime video call to Delaney and her colleagues at Oakland’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center after learning she was wearing his uniform.
“That was a great full-circle moment, from being able to talk to her back when the pandemic had just started when things were really ramping up and understanding the sacrifice that her, her colleagues were going through on the front lines,” Curry said. “And knowing what the Warriors mean, what I mean, what some motivation and inspiration she's gotten from my story and how she's carried that into her world means so much. To have an opportunity for her to come to a game and meet her in person was pretty awesome.”
Delaney had the jersey on again as she and Crowley sat on the floor for Golden State’s game with the Kings. A season ticket holder at Chase Center who couldn’t attend gifted them the courtside seats.
“I’d always dreamed of talking to him, mostly to thank him, because he really has made such an impact on my life and how I carry myself,” said Delaney, a former high school basketball player who later did some coaching.
“It kind of helped me, the whole ‘I can do all things,’ but also the way he believes that and the way he lives his life is through that, with joy and love. So he really inspired me. Watching him when I started nursing, in my early 20s, which is a hard time to be alive, when you’re in your early 20s it’s difficult, but doing it in the ICU, I was always like, ‘I can’t do this,’ so he carried through that and stuff I had going on personally with my family.”
Those minutes Curry spent with Delaney, her fellow nurses and the other medical personnel provided a lift they all needed during the most challenging stretch of COVID-19.
“It really uplifted a lot of folks, like all the other nurses, the other staff members, everyone got a lot of joy out of that,” Delaney shared of that call with the two-time MVP. “People told me, they actually said that helped boost morale around here a lot, and it got us a lot of donations. And, it got us a lot of donations. It got us a lot of face masks, a lot of surgical masks, it got us a lot of food. And enough food that we were able to share with everyone in the hospital. ... Everyone got to feel loved and feel appreciated because everyone is putting their lives on the line, not just the ICU nurses.”
The 28-year-old Delaney moved to the music upon reaching her seat across from the Warriors bench before tipoff.
She and Crowley cheered when Curry was introduced.
“It's really nice for our organization to be able to honor people who have helped so much during the pandemic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I think that's one of the most important roles that our organization plays in the community is to honor those who deserve to be honored, so it's a great way for that to happen, especially because we've got plenty of fans out there who have been on the front lines during the pandemic. So, the more we can honor the better and it's a nice thing to be able to do.”
Delaney believes she is a better nurse having gone through the pandemic, supporting her patients with love and care when they have nobody else.
“It's an intense job, but I do love it a lot,” she said. “Doing it with love, I think I've become a better nurse over the past year. The family's not there so you've got to give a little extra, you've got to be there in a different way — you've got to be the family and the nurse.”
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports