Watch Riley Whip: The Year in Curry Family Memes


It started the way so many things on the Internet do: with a Drake song. In 2014, his loosie “0-100” boasted his rap prowess as, “I been Steph Curry with the shot / Been cookin’ with the sauce / Chef Curry with the pot, boy.” For the uninitiated, Steph Curry is the point guard of the Golden State Warriors, who honored as MVP of the league last season after he and his team defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 Finals. And while Steph and co.’s continued accomplishments remain a dazzling spectacle and pure joy to watch—they are undefeated six weeks into the current season—people have jumped on the Curry bandwagon for more than just his results on the court.

Because “0-100” wasn’t just yet another hit to add to the canon of sports tautologies in rap. It gave us this:

Steph’s wife Ayesha has been maintaining a food and lifestyle blog for years, sharing cooking tutorials and other familial inspiration on her YouTube channel Little Lights of Mine. She is Chef Curry with the pot. The clip became a minor viral sensation—seriously, do something even moderately cool to a Drake song and people will RT you—and presaged the memeability of their fam.

The Curry fam posted the video at the end of last December. On January 1, Drake did it again with the “truss me daddi” Vine:

Which Steph ran back, in a clip that also starred his wife.

A deep-dive in Ayesha’s Instagram reveals not too much in the way of earlier family tomfoolery—although, she once played a bit part on Hannah Montana!—but quite a lot of food porn, as well as snaps of their prodigiously adorable daughter Riley.

But you already know Riley.

Taking cues from the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, who brought his son PJ (and his charming mean mug) to a 2015 Playoffs press conference, Riley accompanied her father to a presser after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on May 19 only to become a larger fascination than her father.

The Internet ‘shipped Riley and PJ immediately and Warriors press conference clip was reblogged eternally. Not everyone was amused. Brett Friedlander, a reporter for North Carolina’s StarNews Online, was miffed that Riley provided a distraction from the questions that were being lobbed at Curry after the game. In a since-deleted tweet he wrote, “Steph Curry’s kid is cute. That doesn’t mean she should be at presser. There are professionals on deadlines there w/ jobs to do, too.” ZzzzzzZZZZzzzzzz.

The case for Riley is simple: There is truly nothing interesting or unique about the kind of quotes you get a press conference and Riley’s presence made the same old “we played hard”-isms of a post-game wrap-up that much more compelling. Plus, when you see that clip, you understand even more how Steph reacts to distractions. He’s very calm! He knows how to handle something getting in the way of the job he has to do!

One more time for Mr. Friedlander, Riley:

After already making another meme’d moment mimicking her father’s signature chest tap after Warriors won the Western Conference Finals to move on to the ‘chip, Riley doubled down on her presser showmanship.

First, she dazzled reporters with her knowledge of Big Sean’s catalogue:

When Steph found a way to weasel the mic out of her hands, she made do with what she had and Twitter ran with it.

There was Riley Curry, Death Row affiliate:

Allen Riley-verson:

Riley Curry, feminist:

And when she was finally shooed away from the table, she became Riley Curry, performance art wunderkind.

Let’s see that one again:

Riley celebrated the Warriors’ Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a victory dance:

And returned to pose with the team and the Larry O’Brien Trophy after the won the whole thing. (Andre Iguodala kept his mouth shut that time.)

She spent the rest of the summer dancing to Silento’s “Watch Me”:

Including a stint teaching Charlotte Hornets point guard (and former Warrior) Jeremy Lin how to whip.

(And, you know, interrupting a Father’s Day SportsCenter interview with her dad, grandfather and NBA legend Dell Curry, Steph’s teammate Klay Thompson and his father former NBA player Mychal.)

Supply and demand is real, and before 2015 could let up, Riley modeled in an ad campaign for children’s apparel company Freshly Picked.

In October, Steph and Ayesha welcomed a second daughter, Ryan, making them the first Elsa and Anna of the NBA. I don’t think Steph and Ayesha would mind this comparison.

That Frozen-themed Dubsmash was taunted by Warriors detractors and used as bait from Steph supporters as the team continues on a completely savage run during the beginning of this season. (Seriously, search it on Twitter. You average around 30 points a game and eventually even the people who revile you most are going to have to give in.)

But the Frozen video, Ayesha’s public persona—which is not always met with positivity—and the regular appearance of their children are also indicative of a seachange in our superstar athletes. Steph is having the greatest moment of his career, but instead of living his postgame life dripped in champagne and partying, he is relentlessly and lovingly tied to his family. And they’ve dictated a lot of people’s #relationshipgoals after going viral off a Drake lyric.

Perhaps Cory Joseph of the Toronto Raptors, who got a shout in Meek Mill diss track “Charged Up,” is next in line for a Drizzy-anointed NBA takeover.

Eh, maybe not.

Claire Lobenfeld is a music and culture critic living in NYC.

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