Calling out Trump, Curry makes his strongest statement of NBA career

Calling out Trump, Curry makes his strongest statement of NBA career

After personally handing out meals and more to folks in need, Stephen Curry sat in the conference room of an Oakland church and opened a window into his sociopolitical thinking.

Asked about the risks of speaking out on such sensitive matters, Curry explained that he realized his status had given him the privilege of a platform that he feels obligated to use. Any decisions about speaking out, he said, would be guided by his principles.

“Sometimes,” he said, “it’s worse when you don’t say something.”

That was more than three years ago, and Curry’s star was just beginning to rise. He has since won two MVP awards, led the Warriors to their first NBA Championship in 40 years and become an international celebrity.

He also happens to be the most effective star in the marketing stable of the growing athletic footwear and apparel company Under Armour.

Which brings us to Wednesday, when Curry waded into the waters related to President Donald Trump.

Commenting on a statement made  by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Scott Wapner, referred to Trump as pro-business and, therefore, “a real asset for the country.”

Curry, in an interview with Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson II, had a reaction that could not have pleased Plank.

“I agree with that description,” Curry said, “if you remove the ‘et’ “ from the word asset.

This is the strongest statement Curry has made on any matter, at any time during a career now in its eighth season. He is under contract to Under Armour until 2024. Moreover, he has an ownership stake.

Yet he spoke out, and in very unambiguous terms that clashed with the CEO of the company he represents. And Curry is smart enough to know his explicit critique of the president may alienate potential buyers of shoes and clothing attached to his name.

This is big.

This is Curry taking his clout to the highest level yet -- even if it jeopardizes his relationship with Under Armour.

“If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” Curry said. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am.

“So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

Curry said he spent much of Tuesday in dialogue with representatives of Under Armour, as well as his own representatives. He was seeking more information, in hopes of gaining clarification.

Though he obviously feels uneasy about the company, he has not decided to sever the business relationship. Not yet.

But it’s on his mind. Does he want to be associated with a company in which the CEO openly expressed a fondness for the polarizing new president?

“It’s a fine line but it’s about how we’re operating,” Curry said, “how inclusive we are, what we stand for. He’s the President. There are going to be people that are tied to them. But are we promoting change? Are we doing things that are going to look out for everybody? And not being so self-serving that it’s only about making money, selling shoes, doing this and that. That’s not the priority. It’s about changing lives. I think we can continue to do that.”

In other words, if Under Armour mimics Trump’s isolationist policies and open disrespect of others, Curry is ready to walk.

Curry, 28, has never used a megaphone to express himself, and don’t expect that to happen now. He’s a Christian who rarely directly talks religion. He routinely donates to charities and community groups, and not always publicly. He’s not one to talk his way into the spotlight.

But he’s not going to shrink. Not now. Not on the dawn of what clearly is becoming a new age of activism for athletes.

Hopeful night at Oracle turns solemn after Curry sprains left MCL

Hopeful night at Oracle turns solemn after Curry sprains left MCL

OAKLAND -- The words came dribbling out slowly, ruefully and with more than a trace of despair.

JaVale McGee, the 7-foot accidental villain, could barely speak about his role Friday night in the moment that left the Warriors pleading for mercy while their fans were screaming at the sky.

Stephen Curry, returning to the lineup after a six-game absence due to a right ankle sprain, lasted 25 minutes before sustaining another injury, this one a sprain to his left MCL. The two-time MVP will undergo an MRI test Saturday.

“I pray to God,” McGee said, “that nothing’s wrong with him.”

The injury occurred with 3:09 left in the third quarter. After biting on a pump fake by Atlanta forward Mike Muscala, McGee wound up tumbling backward, with his 270 pounds landing directly at the front Curry legs. Curry immediately started limping away, with the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena gasping in horror.

“I was trying to block a shot,” McGee said beneath a vacant stare, “and I ran into him.”

That’s the kind of month it has been for the Warriors. All four of their All-Stars have been knocked out of action by an array of injuries.

Curry went down March 8 after tweaking his surgically repaired right ankle. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were injured March 11 at Minnesota, Durant sustaining a rib cartilage injury after taking a elbow from 7-foot Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and Thompson spraining his right thumb after making contact with Minnesota point guard Jeff Teague.

Draymond Green began the next week as the team’s only healthy All-Star, a distinction that lasted eight days before he was struck down with a pelvic contusion Monday night in San Antonio.

“It’s like a juju or something on us,” McGee said. “I’ve never been part of a team where everybody just got injured, especially the starters. It’s kind of scary to tell the truth.”

Durant, Thompson and Green were unavailable Friday night, which is why Curry’s return was so encouraging. After a 2-point first quarter during which he went 1-of-6 from the floor, Curry found his stroke and over his next 16 minutes scored 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

Then came the most frightening moment of the night, throwing a massive damper on a 106-94 victory.

“I assumed it was his ankle when he came out hobbling and I found it was his knee,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We will see what the MRI says tomorrow.

“There is not a whole lot we can do or predict. It’s kind of a strange, cruel twist of fate. He rehabs his ankle for the last couple of weeks and gets that strong and the knee goes. We’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.”

The Warriors came out of the All-Star break fairly healthy and ready to make a run at the No. 1 overall seed. They’ve achieved it in each of the last three seasons, coming away with two championships.

Hopes of getting there this season have disappeared under a pile of injuries, all of them coming over the last 16 days. As of late Friday night, there was no knowing how serious Curry’s injury is, or how long he might be out.

What’s known is that it was another in a succession of frightful moments.

“It’s a little somber in there,” Kerr said of the locker room. “Everybody feels for Steph. But it’s more a case of just keep going and keep pushing forward. We’ll come into tomorrow, short practice and get ready for Utah.”

That’s at the request of the schedule. That’s a dose of NBA reality on a grim night.

McGee didn’t seem ready for that. He was feeling awful about the entire episode.

“I can’t describe it,” he said of the play that followed everyone into the night. “Everybody has a TV. I fell into him and . . . I know y’all (reporters) don’t think I’m standing here like, ‘Yes, I fell into him.’

“That’s a star player. Of course, we don’t want him to be injured, especially after he came back. So I feel very bad for the fact that I was a part of that.”

McGee said he hopes Curry is out no more than a couple games.

The Warriors would be ever so pleased if it’s a couple weeks. They want to be whole for the postseason,, the only season by which they will be measured and a season that, on this night, nobody was of a mood to visualize.

Curry limps to locker room with left MCL sprain, does not return vs Hawks

Curry limps to locker room with left MCL sprain, does not return vs Hawks

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry lasted 25 minutes Friday night before limping out of another game.

He was diagnosed with a sprained left MCL and did not return after sustaining the injury.

Curry came up limping after center JaVale McGee, leaping for a rebound, tumbled backward into his lower legs with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter of the Warriors-Hawks game at Oracle Arena.

Immediately, the sellout crowd let out a collective groan.

Curry, his face a mask of dejection, headed for the bench, where he was examined by Warriors physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane. The two then headed into the locker room.

Curry scored a team-high 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before leaving the game. This was his first appearance since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle, causing him to miss six games.

Curry has missed 21 of the team’s 71 games. He will undergo an MRI on Saturday, and his status beyond that is yet to be determined. 

This story is being updated.