At the end of his availability, Damion Lee made one thing certain: He doesn’t want any questions this season about being Steph’s brother-in-law. Here’s the end of his explanation why: pic.twitter.com/5KE8mLqWQJ
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) October 3, 2019
Damion Lee does not want to be asked about being an extended member of the Curry family. Lee is married to Stephen Curry’s sister, Sydel-Lee Curry, and on Thursday, he stated his preference for questions going forward to be unrelated to that.
“I love my family and I respect my family, but I don’t want that to be a crutch that’s leaned on for me, saying that I’m here because of whatever my family situation is,” Lee said. “I just want that to be known.”
Lee is on a two-way contract, something that probably says more about the injuries Lee has fought through and the Warriors’ cap situation than any deficiencies he has on the court. The Warriors did not have the space available to sign Lee to a guaranteed deal, and he was discernibly not offered one (or at least not one that fit what he was looking for) elsewhere.
It seems likely that he would have been signed as the team’s 15th guaranteed player if the Warriors did have the space to offer him a deal, but there will likely be an opportunity to convert his deal to a guaranteed one later in the season.
After three years at Drexel University (he tore his right ACL in his junior year, earning a medical redshirt, then, in that next junior year, he fractured his right hand, going out for the year while averaging 21.4 points per game — fourth-best in the nation), Lee transferred to Louisville where he was a standout, leading the top-25 team with 15.9 points per game… until he was snakebitten by a self-imposed postseason ban due to a prior recruiting scandal, leaving Lee unable to show his talent during March Madness.
Lee went undrafted and has had to grind for the entirety of his career. He tore his ACL again—this time in his left knee—in his rookie season in the (then) D League with the Maine Red Claws—the Boston Celtics’ affiliate—in 2016-17.
He averaged 17.8 points 6.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his brief stint; and was then traded to the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2017, where he’s played the majority of his basketball since.
In March of 2018, he was signed to a pair of 10-day contracts by the Atlanta Hawks before having his deal converted into a guaranteed one. Last season, he played on a two-way deal with the Warriors (as he will this year), and averaged 20.3 points (47.5 percent from field, 39.8 percent from 3-point), 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Again, if not for the Warriors’ tight cap situation, Lee would likely have been offered a guaranteed minimum deal; his work back from injuries and performances both in the G-League, and his abbreviated time with the Warriors (per-36 minute averages of 15.2 points and 39.7 percent from 3-point, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals per game), should probably have earned him that.
“At the end of the day, my name is Damion Lee. It doesn’t matter who I’m married to,” Lee said Thursday. “I’ve played basketball before I married who I am married to and the family that I have. I want people to respect me for me. I work hard for this shit. At the end of the day, I’ve battled, I’ve battled. I’m battle-tested; two ACLs, I’ve gone through a lot of shit during my career to get me to this point. And I don’t want anyone in the media, whether it’s here, whether it’s across the country, across the world, to disrespect me, disrespect my family, disrespect the front office here in Golden State for believing in me, for knowing my abilities, for knowing what I can do. I just wanted to lay that on the line right now, that going forward this year, there’s no family questions.”
The full video is below:
— KXSF Sports (@KXSFsports) October 3, 2019
So again, don’t ask Lee about his family.
“Don’t ask me about it, don’t ask [Curry] about it. That’s the law, that’s the staple,” Lee said. “I’m happy that I’m healthy. I’m blessed. I have an amazing family, whether it’s my mom, my aunt, the people that helped raised me to get to this situation. Whether it’s my extended family. But at the end of the day, I need everyone to respect me for me as a person knowing what it’s taken, knowing my journey to get here to this point, and I don’t ever want that to get blown over or get put aside by some thoughts that you guys may have or other people may have, so I just want to dispel all that right here, right now.”