What do a retired North Carolina congressman and an NBA legend have in common?

One will be remembered for bringing federal money to the Triangle for low-income housing, transit and a host of other community projects. The other is known for his silky 3-point shot, his four NBA championships and for leading a small North Carolina college on a magical run through the NCAA tournament in 2008.

And now both will be remembered by people who drive through highway interchanges that will bear their names.

The N.C. Board of Transportation on Thursday officially named interchanges for retired U.S. Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill and NBA star Steph Curry, who grew up in Charlotte, played at Davidson College and is in his 14th season with the Golden State Warriors.

The Congressman David Price Interchange is where U.S. 15/501 meets Interstate 40 at Exit 270 between Durham and Chapel Hill. Price, a Democrat, served the area in Congress for 34 years, starting in 1987 and losing re-election just once, in the mid-1990s. He retired in 2022 after 17 terms, becoming one of North Carolina’s longest-serving members of Congress.

The Steph Curry Interchange is at the Griffith Street exit from I-77 in Davidson, about a mile from the college campus. Curry was the NCAA’s leading scorer in his third and final season at Davidson in 2009, when he entered the NBA draft. He vowed to finish his degree and did, earning a bachelor’s in sociology in 2022.

Stephen Curry shows his diploma to the audience at Davidson College on Aug. 31, 2022. In addition to receiving his diploma, Curry was inducted into the school’s hall of fame and also had his iconic number 30 jersey retired.
Stephen Curry shows his diploma to the audience at Davidson College on Aug. 31, 2022. In addition to receiving his diploma, Curry was inducted into the school’s hall of fame and also had his iconic number 30 jersey retired.

The Curry interchange isn’t just close to the Davidson campus; it happens to be Exit 30, the number Curry wore in high school and college and still wears for the Warriors.

The interchange designations came at the request of local governments — the Davidson Town Council for Curry and the Durham County Board of Commissioners for Price.

Curry and his family appreciate the honor

Curry’s mother, Sonya, thanked the Board of Transportation via a video link on Thursday. She wiped away tears as the resolution summarizing her son’s accomplishments and virtues was read.

“My heart is just racing to think that I’m going to ride up 77 and see an exit with my child’s name on it,” she told board members.

Sonya Curry said she was out visiting her son in California recently when the subject came up. Can you believe they’re going to name an exit after me, he asked his mom, calling it “just incredible.”

“That shows you that he does not take this for granted,” Sonya Curry said. “He does not assume that he deserves any of this. And we are just so honored that the community of Davidson would think so much, so highly of him and his experience there.”

Rep. David Price speaks during a press conference at the Community School for People Under Six in Carrboro on Oct. 7, 2021.
Rep. David Price speaks during a press conference at the Community School for People Under Six in Carrboro on Oct. 7, 2021.

Price attended the board meeting in person and said he, too, was honored to have his name on an interchange. It happens to be close to his house, he said, and he remembers when it opened in the late 1980s.

“I was commuting to Raleigh at the time,” he said. “And it took a good 20 minutes off the trip from my home to Raleigh, which otherwise required snaking around on N.C. 54.”

Price said transportation and housing were the main focus of his time in Congress. As a member of House appropriations committees he was able to help steer money to his district for widening highways, improving Raleigh-Durham International Airport, building Raleigh’s downtown railroad and bus stations and establishing and improving the state’s intercity passenger trains, the Piedmont and the Carolinian, among other projects.

Price represented the 4th Congressional District, which has changed shapes over the years but generally included parts of Orange, Durham and Wake counties. In speaking about the interchange that will bear his name, Price alluded to the most recent changes to the district approved by the General Assembly to include Alamance and Person counties while removing parts of Wake and Chatham.

“It’s an intersection that’s going to have to be reconfigured because of traffic flows, and that might involve some degree of controversy,” he said. “And in both of those respects it’s a good reflection, I would say, of the 4th Congressional District.”

Since the 1920s, the state has named hundreds of roads, bridges and interchanges after individuals, usually politicians, business leaders, veterans or people killed in battle or locally in the line of duty. Along with Curry and Price, the board approved the naming of a bridge in Burke County for a firefighter who was hit and killed while trying to remove a downed tree from U.S. 70 in 2017.

Some of the honorees made their marks in the arts or athletics, including Andy Griffith (part of U.S. 52 near his hometown of Mt. Airy) and James Taylor (a bridge over Morgan Creek in Chapel Hill). Two years ago, NCDOT named adjoining stretches of I-40 after former UNC-Chapel Hill men’s basketball coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams, near the Congressman David Price Interchange.