Warriors

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.

Warriors vs. Jazz live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

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Warriors vs. Jazz live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

On Wednesday night, it'll be the Warriors' final chance to avoid a winless season against the Utah Jazz. It will be a difficult task for Golden State.

The last time the Warriors went 0-4 in the regular season against the Jazz was during the 2001-02 season. And the last time any team took four games away from the Warriors was during the 2013-14 season, when the San Antonio Spurs did so.

The Jazz have won 17 of their last 19 games, have been dominant on the road recently and don't have any new injuries reported.

The Warriors have lost 11 of the last 12 games this season and will dress only nine players.

Here’s how to watch Wednesday night’s Warriors-Jazz game:

When: Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m. PT, pregame begins at 6:00 p.m.
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams App

Live stream all your Warriors games and get the latest news and analysis on the MyTeams App.

Warriors vs. Utah Jazz watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

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Warriors vs. Utah Jazz watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- It has been six years since the Warriors were swept in a four-game season series. That will change Wednesday night if they can’t overcome the Utah Jazz.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 p.m., with tipoff from Chase Center scheduled for 7.

[RELATEDHow to watch Warriors-Jazz online]

The last team to take four games from the Warriors was the San Antonio Spurs, who accomplished the feat in 2013-14, when Stephen Curry was a first-time starter in the All-Star Game and Mark Jackson was in his last season as coach. And two of those games were two-point losses.

The Warriors won 12 of their first 18 games against the Jazz under coach Steve Kerr before losing the first three this season by an average margin of 8.7 points. Golden State (10-35) have lost 11 of its last 12 games overall.

The Jazz (30-13) have gone the other way, winning 12 of their last 13 and going an NBA-best 17-2 since Dec. 9. Unlike previous seasons, when Utah relied on its defense, it’s the offense leading the way. The Jazz’s offensive rating since then (117.6) is tops in the league by a wide margin over the second-place Denver Nuggets.

To have a chance of avoiding a winless season against the Jazz, the Warriors must be at their absolute best Wednesday.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Jazz

F – Royce O’Neale
F – Bojan Bogdonovic
C – Rudy Gobert
G – Joe Ingles
G – Donovan Mitchell

Warriors

F – Glenn Robinson III
F – Draymond Green
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
G – Damion Lee
G – D’Angelo Russell

INJURY REPORT

Jazz: No injuries reported. F Jarrell Brantley, G Miye Oni, G Nigel Williams-Goss and G Justin Wright-Foreman are on assignment with the G League's Salt Lake Stars. 

Warriors: G Jacob Evans (concussion) is listed as questionable. G Stephen Curry (left-hand fracture), C/F Kevon Looney (left abdominal soreness) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) are listed as out. G Ky Bowman and F/C Alen Smailagic are on assignment with the G League's Santa Cruz Warriors.

[MORE WARRIORS: Steph reportedly buying $8M condo by Chase]

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Jazz: Gobert has been coping with a mild ankle sprain but was not listed on the afternoon injury report. He’s having a superb season, averaging 15.4 points (68 percent shooting), 14.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. ... Mitchell is the team’s top scorer (24.7 points per game) and is shooting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc in January. ... Though Mike Conley returned Saturday after missing 14 games with hamstring tightness, he has been used as a reserve with limited minutes. He scored 14 points in 18 minutes Saturday in a win over the Indiana Pacers. ... G Jordan Clarkson, acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Eve, has provided offensive punch off the bench. Though 13 games with the Jazz, he’s averaging 14.8 points, shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc, in 25.2 points per game. He is filling the role of Sixth Man vacated by Ingles, who entered starting lineup when Conley was injured. ... Utah leads the NBA in 3-point percentage. at 38.8. Reserve F Georges Niang (44.0), O’Neale (43.3), Ingles (41.8) and Bogdanovic (41.4) are all above 40 percent.

Warriors: After dressing only nine players -- including the ailing Green, who did not play but is expected to Wednesday -- Monday, the return of Glenn Robinson III and possibly Evans, who participated in the morning shootaround, could bump the roster to 11. ... G/F Alec Burks has scored in double figures in 25 of the last 27 games, averaging 17.2 ppg over that span, during which he made 12 starts. ... G Jordan Poole’s streak of games in which he scored in double figures ended at four Monday, when he totaled nine points on 2-of-11 shooting. He averaged 15.3 points per game in the previous four games, shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from deep. ... F Eric Paschall over the last six games averaged 16.3 points per game while shooting 53.3 percent. ... The Warriors are No. 2 in free-throw percentage at 81.1 behind the Portland Trail Blazers (81.2), and Golden State is on pace to shoot at least 80 percent from the line for the third consecutive season. ... The last time the Warriors went 0-4 in the regular season against the Jazz was 2001-02, when Golden State finished with a 21-61 record.

Officials: David Guthrie (crew chief), Scott Twardoski, Jacyn Goble.