Curry says he points people toward ‘the Man who died for our sins on the cross. (Courtesy of nbcprobasketballtalk.com)
By Felicia D. Purcell, Bay Area Sports Reporter
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
That’s the scripture from Philippians 4:13 that Steph Curry has written on his shoes and one that’s on his Twitter page which also, in part reads: “Father, Son, Brother, Warrior and Wildcat” for all of his 2.4 million followers to see.
Curry, the 6-foot-3, 185 pound point guard for the Golden State Warriors, isn’t afraid to share his faith and he’s a young man who stayed the course in his life. He sends a signal up and giving credit to God, with his index finger in the air, after each basket he makes. When he knew he wanted to marry his wife, he prayed about it in his closet. Now he’s a World Champion and when asked during a TV interview following Tuesday night’s championship-winning game to what he gave the credit, Curry replied, “I give glory to God.”
After a dream record of 67-15 and only two losses at home during the regular season Curry is filled with his Faith along with other teammates like James McAdoo, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli.
Curry’s faith was challenged when he wasn’t heavily courted out of high school, when people said mean things to him for being the son of former NBA All-Star, Dell Curry and when his first two years were riddled with ankle injuries.
He was a lightweight, scrawny and had a horrible shot when he was younger but his faith got him through. He had supportive parents and a cool grandma who even served as his game announcer when he was a toddler playing with his Fisher-Price basketball set.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, faith is a noun that means: (1) Belief and trust in and loyalty to God or (2) Something that is believed especially with a strong conviction.
His Under Armour slogan is ‘Charged by Belief’ which isn’t surprising. Curry was raised in North Carolina part of what’s known as the Bible Belt of the south, where a church is on every corner and worship music is played on the radio, daily.
I thought of how proud I was of this young, black man as I saw him lift the Larry O’Brien trophy Tuesday night, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by the Warriors in 40-years.
As I watched him raise his MVP trophy in May, I thought about how far Curry, now 27, had come. I thought about how he kept his composure when everyone counted him out, when Monta Ellis was traded away, and how he apologized for calling me ma’am when I corrected him.
At a time when so many black men are being gunned down in the streets, Curry is a breath of fresh air. He has a beautiful wife, named Ayesha, who has her own YouTube cooking show, Little Lights Of Mine (www.ayeshacurry.com), where she whips up delicious meals, as her husband willingly awaits to taste his wife’s savory creations. They laugh, rap and dance in the clips, live in Orinda, have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who has become a star in her own right, at post-game press conferences and another baby girl on the way in July. Life couldn’t be sweeter for Steph Curry or his season more ordered or ordained.
I thought about how he’s one of the many black men who have done things in an order that the media does not portray: education, career, marriage, family.
Steph Curry, center back, with the boys for whom he bought pairs of his Curry Ones shoes. photo courtesy of Bryant Barr.
During All-Star weekend in New York, this past February, Curry stopped a group of African-American teens and bought them all a pair of his Curry Ones. Just because.
Over the past six-years I’ve watched him patiently deal with questions meant to get under his skin and he’s kept his poise. While he didn’t come from the streets, Curry isn’t blind to the world around him and makes it his job to give back.
“That’s just the type of person he is,” said Davidson teammate Bryant Barr who was with Curry when he visited the White House, earlier this year to speak on Malaria in Africa, and who is also the godfather to Riley.
As part of its support of the Kia NBA MVP Award, Kia Motors America donated a 2016 Kia Sorento LX CUV to the East Oakland Youth Development Center, on behalf of Curry when he received MVP honors in early May.
“It’s very important to give back,” said Curry at the time who said it’s important for athletes to explore outside of their bubble and impact the life of others. “Four wheels can do a lot of good.”
As he got into the meat of his MVP speech, Curry broke down what he applies in his life and on the court: faith, passion, drive, and will.
“I wanted to use this opportunity to shed light on who I am and what drives me to play the way that I do,” he said. “I do a little sign on the court every time I make a shot or good pass, and I pound my chest and point to the sky, and that symbolizes that I have a heart for God. Something my mom and I came up with in college, and I do it every time I step on the floor as a reminder of who I’m playing for.”
Curry also took the time to thank each and every one of his 14 teammates, as well as the equipment manager and security.
He is the first player to win the MVP honor in the team’s history since they moved west. The last time was in 1960 while the Warriors were in Philadelphia and the player was someone named Wilt Chamberlain. Not bad company at all.
“People should know who I represent and why I am who I am, and that is because of my Lord and Savior,” Curry shared. “So, I can’t say that enough.”
According to a 2014 article in Decision magazine,
“In a column in 2013 for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes website, Steph wrote that he loves to point people toward ‘the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that’s something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top.’
Steph grew up a church kid, but points to a youth service when he was 13 as the time when he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
‘It was a big decision that my parents couldn’t make for me,’ he said. ‘It’s been a great walk since then. He means everything to me.’”
Another way he lives out his faith and gives back is through his Stephen Curry Foundation. His website, www.stephcurry30.com lists the charities Curry supports, including Nothing But Nets, which fights Malaria throughout the world, as well as the charity golf tournaments his foundation holds and he supports.
For all of the Charles Barkley-types who said a jump shooting team could never win a World Championship, in the words of Oscar winner Jamie Foxx in the Curry One TV commercial, “fall back.”