Anthony Fauci

Steph Curry's heart, compassion on display amid coronavirus pandemic


Steph Curry's heart, compassion on display amid coronavirus pandemic

Sure, they’ve been charmed by his 3-point shooting pyrotechnics, his creativity in attacking swarming defenses and his gleeful engagement with crowds at Oracle Arena.

But Warriors fans really didn't know Stephen Curry.

They were seduced by his positive energy. They recognized that his ascent to MVP level was the turning point, lifting the franchise out of despair and into euphoria. From irrelevant to elite. No question during this process, Warriors fans fell in love.

Getting to know someone you don’t live with takes time and observation, even to the point of inspection. These days, when so many have so much time to observe, even inspect, Warriors fans finally are getting to know what they’ve loved.

They’re seeing Steph in real time, during a global crisis, spreading his wings and, in the process, polishing his star to an even brighter shine.

In the four weeks since the NBA came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Curry has been sprinkling bits of his heart in every direction.

He has shown his light side, frolicking with University of Oregon basketball star Sabrina Ionescu, while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

He has gone heavy and deep, generating public discourse with Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s foremost expert on infectious diseases for nearly four decades – and the man who has become a household name in the wake of frequent TV appearances throughout this emergency.

Curry joined one of his rivals, Chris Paul, who ranks among the most polarizing players in the NBA, for the kind of revealing dialogue that provides glimpses of humor and humanity.

Not long before that, Curry connected with one of his former Warriors teammates, Kent Bazemore, to play some virtual golf.

Curry could have passed on any of these moments and nobody would have thought twice. He could have given Ionescu the “maybe some other time” treatment. Could have kept a respectful distance from Dr. Fauci and no one would have thought any less. Could have told CP3 that he “was tied up with family” and not caused a rift.

Could have told Bazemore to find another ex-teammate, maybe someone of less acclaim.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

That’s not how Curry works. It’s not his style. Those who have welcomed him to local schools and recreation centers, they know. Those who have welcomed him into their houses of worship, they know. They will talk your ears into flames saluting Steph’s contributions of time and money and kindness. I know, because my ears have been exposed to this countless times over the past decade.

Warriors fans are familiar with some of Curry’s deeds. The young Napa girl, Riley Morrison, who wrote him a letter expressing her disappointment with the lack of his signature shoes in girls’ sizes and inspired Steph to call Under Armour and resolve the issue. The video of Curry standing in the Philadelphia chill to sign a single autograph for a youngster who used twine to drop a pen and pad from the loading dock.

Or, more recently, Steph and his wife, Ayesha, teaming with Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Unified School District in a pledge to provide one million meals to students whose nutritional needs are adversely affected by school closures during the pandemic.

There are many other similar instances. Some known, many not.

Curry on Wednesday spent a few moments on FaceTime with nurse Shelby Delaney and her colleagues at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. Steph wanted to show his appreciation for their spirit and determination in fighting the worst pandemic in our lifetimes.

“I can't thank God enough for what you're doing and just the sacrifice, the selflessness and the way everybody's coming together,” Curry told the crew huddled around Delaney. “Thank you so much for what you do, your heart, and the inspiration you provide for everybody.”

[RELATED: Lacob acknowledges Warriors could trade down in draft]

It is times like this that reveal character. Some folks rise to the moment, some stumble and fall and still others fade into the fabric.

Freed from the daily routine of games and practices – and not yet bound to summer commitments – Curry is finding even more time to make a difference. He’s reaching farther and wider and higher, and he’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Stephen’s family always has been proud of him. The same can be said of Warriors fans, particularly after getting a clearer look than ever at the man’s heart and mind. 

Watch Warriors' Steph Curry surprise random person on Instagram Live

Watch Warriors' Steph Curry surprise random person on Instagram Live

Steph Curry is using his time while the NBA season is indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to make this unprecedented situation a little bit easier on everyone.

Earlier this week, he held a live Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to help spread the word to thousands of people as to how to help flatten the curve of the pandemic.

Curry has also provided some laughs through his comedic commentary on other player's workouts, as well as through his own child's personal evaluation of him as a substitute teacher.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

On Saturday, Curry added to the smiles when he surprisingly joined someone's Instagram Live.

As you can see -- and hear -- it was quite the pleasant surprise.

[RELATED: Riley called Steph 'three-star' teacher in home schooling]

Curry told the hosts that he had been watching them all day. With so much additional time on his hands, he has to fill it somehow, but it's great to see that he continues to use it to brighten others' days.

Steve Kerr praises Steph Curry for Dr. Anthony Fauci coronavirus Q&A

Steve Kerr praises Steph Curry for Dr. Anthony Fauci coronavirus Q&A

Steph Curry is a three-time NBA champion, two-time league MVP and generally regarded as the greatest shooter to ever touch the leather.

The Warriors star is an all-time great basketball player, and yet somehow, he's an even better person.

Curry has made a point of using his celebrity and personal success to better the world, and his greatest assist likely came off the court Thursday when he held a coronavirus Q&A session with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious diseases as well as the head of the White House's coronavirus task force, on Instagram Live.

Following the informative session, Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised his star player for being an all-time great human during an appearance on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto and Kolsky."

"I haven't seen it yet," Kerr said of the Q&A. "I'm going to watch it tonight. But I had a chance to talk with [president of basketball operations] Bob Myers today and we were talking about some draft prep stuff. I said to Bob, 'Can you imagine having a better representative for our organization?' Obviously, all-world player, one of the greats of all time, but just as a human being representing our organization, what he's done with his life outside of basketball and what he's doing right now in the midst of this crisis.

"You know, raising money, raising awareness, feeding people. Steph is incredible and I'm so glad he interviewed Fauci and I'm just looking forward to hearing it later."

Curry's Instagram Live with Fauci had over 50,000 viewers, including former President Barack Obama and ex-Warrior Andre Iguodala. Curry knows he has a platform that reaches millions of people and sought to use it to get information about to virus directly to them from one of the most qualified sources on the planet, letting viewers get their questions to Fauci during a time when so much misinformation is flying around.

The Warriors star and his wife Ayesha also started a fundraiser to help fight hunger during the coronavirus pandemic, and has been an outspoken advocate of social distancing and listening to science as the world deals with the COVID-19 threat.

[RELATED: What we learned from Curry's Q&A with Fauci]

Curry's Q&A with Fauci was very informative and gave people who might not otherwise get this crucial information an opportunity to get the facts on what we all are facing.

As of Thursday, there were more than 82,000 cases in the United States and more than 1,100 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NBC News reporting.

You can watch Curry's full Q&A with Dr. Fauci here.