OAKLAND -- Teachers are uniting and speaking up for themselves. Students are coming together and marching in pursuit of safer schools. Entertainers and athletes are using their platforms to plead for a better America.
It is, once again, a time of vigorous sociopolitical activism in the United States and Stephen Curry, conceivably the most broadly popular athlete in this country, is embracing the moment.
He’ll turn 30 years old this week, he’s a two-time NBA MVP and a willing spokesman.
“A lot of it is being comfortable in your own skin and knowing what you stand for and what you believe in,” Curry told NBC Sports Bay Area. “No matter what walk of life you’re in, everybody has an opportunity to impact the person next to them. As far as their voice carries, they have an opportunity to shape somebody’s perspective and raise awareness in something that’s an important issue or whatever the case is.
“I’m blessed with a grand stage to be able to do that, where what we say is broadcast to the world, basically.”
[PODCAST: Monte Poole's conversation with Steph Curry]
Curry was the first to announce that he would not be in attendance if the Warriors were invited to the White House for a championship celebration with President Donald Trump. Curry has spoken out for or against numerous other issues and also expressed support for Colin Kaepernick, the unemployed Super Bowl quarterback whose activism has made him a pariah in the NFL.
Curry insists he will continue to raise his voice whenever he deems appropriate, regardless of repercussions. And he knows there will be blowback.
“There’s an understanding from my standpoint that I’m not going to please everybody,” he said. “There’s going to be people that disagree with me. People that think I should ‘shut up and dribble,’ just because I play basketball. The biggest point for me is to be comfortable, be knowledgeable about what you’re talking about, say what you believe, come from a place or respect and positivity and the rest will work itself out.”
Curry hears, and feeds off, the remaining doubters who still have difficulty acknowledging his impact not only off the court but also on it. Some of it comes from the “shut up and dribble” crowd wanting him to stay in his lane, so to speak.
But some of the lingering disrespect about Curry’s talent can be attributed to resentment from seeing such an unimposing specimen basically revolutionize the game of basketball.
“You just know it comes with the territory,” Curry said. “No matter what you do, whether you score 100 points or 2, talk about any social or political issue . . . there’s going to be ‘haters’ and people that want to try to poke holes in everything that you do or say.
“A lot of that is social-media driven. You take it with a grain of salt, but know there is power in that. Beyond that, try not to let it affect your daily life and what’s important to you, on and off the court.”