In the Red: This Doc’s Not A Davidson Guy—He Just Plays One on TV

Michael Sherman at Warriors Game in Davidson Jersey

Michael Sherman stands out in a Warrior crowd with his Davidson jersey.

The man Golden State Warriors fans know as “That Davidson Guy” didn’t go to Davidson.

He’s a Cornell-educated oncologist who wears an actual Davidson guy’s Wildcat jersey to Warriors home games. And with half-court seats behind the scoring table, Michael Sherman’s red Davidson jersey boldly stands out amid the throng of Warriors blue and gold.

Patients see him on TV. Radio and TV game announcers note, “That Davidson guy doesn’t like that call.” He’ll be out for a drink with friends when strangers stop to say, “Hey, you’re that Davidson guy.”

No, Sherman didn’t go to Davidson, but he’s formed a strong connection with Stephen Curry’s alma mater. The player once overlooked by big college programs inspires the doctor fighting to beat the often-daunting odds facing his patients.

I see Stephen as a person of excellence; he has the talent, but he works really hard at always doing better, always seeking more from himself. I pride myself on working really hard. I deal with people’s lives—I want to be a person of excellence, to educate myself every day about new treatments and breakthroughs that could heal them and ease their suffering.

Michael Sherman

Sherman bought his season tickets in 2009 when the Warriors had a 26–56 record, “and I had to beg people to go to games with me.”

In 2011, about a year after Curry joined the team, Sherman bought the Davidson jersey. He’s since worn it through four NBA championships and a few MVP titles for Curry. (“Now I get texts from people I haven’t seen in years,” he says, “asking if I have an extra ticket.”)

His respect grew even more when Curry earned his diploma from Davidson this year.

“That speaks so much about him, and about Davidson, that it was so important for him to get his degree,” Sherman says. “Davidson is a school that values academics and integrity above all else. That Stephen Curry is the face of Davidson—this incredible star who truly values education—sends such a great message to kids.”

Honorary Davidson Family Member

Former men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop first noticed Sherman some years ago while watching Warriors games on TV. He and assistant coaches saw the Davidson jersey whenever a referee’s call prompted a replay.

“We were all saying what great exposure this was for Davidson,” McKillop says. “So, the next time I went out there for a game, I walked up to him and introduced myself.”

The two have since become friends and keep in touch. When McKillop announced his retirement in spring, Sherman texted to congratulate him and joked, “Should I retire my Davidson jersey?”

“Oh no, don’t do that!” McKillop shot back.

Sherman has met a lot of Davidson people over the years. He even got invited to a Davidson alumni dinner in San Francisco, where several thought they knew him from college and asked, “Remind me, what year were you?”

“Michael is incredibly gracious, kind and humorous,” McKillop says. “He loves Davidson so much you would think he’s an alum.”

Helping Others Through Hard Times

Sherman can afford season tickets now. They didn’t come easily.

He grew up poor in rural Connecticut; his family needed food stamps to get by. He was the lone Jewish kid in his classes, and always felt like an outsider. He coped by studying harder, working harder, and putting himself through college and medical school.

He applauds Curry’s mission to bring healthy food, literacy programs, books and sports opportunities to disadvantaged kids, “so that maybe they can become doctors someday.” He respects Curry’s outspokenness.

I admire that he takes a stance—that someone who’s respected across all disciplines doesn’t worry about upsetting fans who may disagree with him. I admire that he will speak out against things that are harming others.

Michael Sherman

He only met Curry once very briefly at an autograph signing session. But Curry’s actions—on and off the court—resonate in his life.

“Stephen uses his talents to help others,” Sherman says. “When I got into med school, I fell in love with the idea that I could help people. Whether I’m trying to cure them or prolong their survival, I feel honored to have that role in their lives.”

Basketball offers the occasional respite.

“I have patients who look for me on TV—the red jersey really stands out,” Sherman says. “And we’ll talk about the Warriors and Stephen, and sometimes that’s a great distraction from the seriousness of what they’re going through.”

This article was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2022 print issue of the Davidson Journal Magazine; for more, please see the Davidson Journal section of our website.