Dell proud of 'bold, confident' Steph for speaking his mind

  • Programming note: Watch the full episode of "Race in America" with Steph and Dell Curry on Saturday, July 17 on Peacock.

He is a man of faith, devoted husband and father and the superstar who shuns entitlement. He feeds the hungry, upgrades recreation centers, visits public schools, calls out injustice. 

Stephen Curry, marvelous basketball player, has spent a decade showing us his many dimensions, one of which is addressing injustice.

It is, for Curry, a labor of global love. And, at 33, the Warriors’ franchise player considers his work unfinished, for the trauma of the past couple years has reminded us there is so much still to be done.

Perhaps no one is more gratified by Curry’s commitment than his father, Dell, who joined his son on an upcoming episode of “Race and Sports in America” on NBC Sports.

“Gives me great pride, admiration to know that the foundation and the platform that he's on and to be able to say, ‘Hey, I can make a difference,’” Dell Curry says.  “’People are listening when I talk, to have those conversations, to challenge people throughout the world to be better.’

“And it takes a bold, confident guy to do that, to step out and tell people what he believes in, how the world should be, how everyone should be treated.  So, to have that platform and to be able to speak, be articulate and challenge people.  It gives me great pride and admiration as a father.”

While the Currys were joined on the panel by retired NBA star Vince Carter and Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, it was clear that Stephen and Dell understand what’s at stake during these turbulent times in America and are in sync with the need for progress. And they are determined to be positive about it.


“I'm always optimistic to start,” Stephen Curry says.  “I feel if you don't have hope ... you have two options, either hopeless or have hope.  I choose to carry that spirit and that energy.  In terms of the conversation in our country and the optimism around, is it a better vibe than last summer?

“Obviously, we went through hell pretty much last summer, obviously the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others.  It sparked a new, I think, energy in our country. A new awareness and awakening of how we can all be accountable, no matter where you come from, no matter what your experience is to step up.”

Though racial inequality and social disenfranchisement persist in 2021, the athlete’s platform has gotten bigger than it was in the 1990s, when Dell’s own deep shooting in the NBA provided a preview of what would come a couple decades later with sons Stephen and Seth.

Back then, Michael Jordan commanded every room he entered, generally using his voice to suit his purposes. Dell concedes, with a touch of envy, that his platform lacked the magnitude of that on which his eldest son stands. 

“You talked about when I got in the league, you had concerns,” Dell says. “You had dislikes, things that you did not like.  You wanted to see changes. But can I really say that and fit in?  Will the ownership do anything?  Will there be consequences with my contract? Will they trade me?  All these things are going through your mind.

“And then you figure out, I like my job.  I like where I'm at.  I'm going to stand ground and go and play and not be heard.

“That's no longer.  The NBA (commissioner) Adam Silver has done a tremendous job of empowering his players to say, ‘Hey, you have beliefs, you have a stance, let your voice be heard.’”

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The new wave of athletes willing to serve as activists today are greater in number and have been moderately more successful than those during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Today’s stars have a sturdier sense of the power they wield, economically and socially.

Stephen realizes this, even if he typically does not announce his efforts in the community. He was compelled last summer to march with his wife, Ayesha, through the streets of Oakland – trying to keep the lowest possible profile – as part of a demonstration against police misconduct and lack of accountability.

There is no question that Stephen realizes his father was not in the same position, and didn’t have similar professional security.

“That's a generational thing, too,” Stephen Curry says. “Because it took me a second to get there, where you know you're not going to please everybody; you're going to be in these polarizing conversations. 


“But it's also why I am optimistic is because you see our young people ... who watch us on the court, know what's happening in society, they're much more equipped and much (stronger) with their words and their stances.  And they're much more enlightened at a younger age.”

This is who Stephen Curry is, a father bound to encourage his daughters, Riley and Ryan, and his son, Canon, to make him a proud papa beyond their professional pursuits. He surely hopes there will be a day when he speaks of them in the same reverent tones he hears from his dad.

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