Warriors

Steph and Ayesha Curry serving minds, bodies in North Oakland

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AP

Steph and Ayesha Curry serving minds, bodies in North Oakland

OAKLAND -- When Stephen Curry strolled into the cozy gym in North Oakland early Monday evening, eyes widened, jaws dropped and fingers pointed. This is not an uncommon reaction to the entrance of American sports royalty, except Curry conveyed no such thing.

“He doesn’t live here. He could have gone through the (Caldecott) tunnel,” George Henderson said, gesturing toward the suburbs where Curry resides. “But he came here. He picked us. And he has consistently blessed us. This is not the first or second time. He’s come by, on a whim, and spent one-on-one time with just our after-school kids.”

There were two specific reasons for this particular visit. In the gym, Curry floated through drills with neighborhood boys and girls, as well as high school players from his SC30 Select Camp. On the other side of the center, he presented a gift that ultimately may prove considerably more valuable to folks of all ages.

Curry was the ceremonial ribbon-cutter for the Stephen and Ayesha Curry Family Foundation Education Lab, a room within the rec center that features laptops, printers and headsets. Oakland city council member Dan Kalb also attended the unveiling.

“To be able to go in and become smarter, become confident and more intelligent as human beings, is important,” Curry said. “We really want you to enjoy that space.”

The lab is not nearly on the incredible scale of the LeBron James’ I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, but it’s still indicative of Curry’s continual commitment to lend a hand to folks in need.

“The educational lab was a natural progression,” Henderson said. “It’s supporting everything that we’re taking as our new focus for Oakland Parks and Recreation youth development. This is what Park and Recs is good at. We can do some sports, we can do some arts and we can support their educational structure.”

Henderson has been on site at Bushrod for a couple years now. His quick smile, framed by a well-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard, along with an easy manner and firm handshake surely serve him well in his capacity. At one point during our nine-minute conversation, the aroma of marijuana smoke wafted it, causing him to pause for a moment, step outside and gently redirect the tokers.

As much as Henderson appreciates the athletic upgrades, including the inspiration slogans lining the walls of the gym, it is clear the lab warms his heart.

“All my kids of color -- whatever color -- are going to have the kind of access that can help them get that much further ahead,” he said. “Now that’s real talk.”

The lab, created in conjunction with partners Under Armour and Chase, comes less than 10 months after the Curry Foundation surprised local kids with a gorgeously refurbished gym, basketball court and other elements of center.

Bushrod, more than 100 years old, may be the closest thing to a landmark athletic center in Oakland. Often cited as the scene of some of baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson’s grandest childhood achievements, Bushrod also helped launched the major-league careers of Frank Robinson, Curt Flood, Billy Martin, Vada Pinson and many others.

It’s hallowed ground that has a chance to stay not only relevant but also serve a higher purpose, thanks to the Currys and their partners, well as the commitment of people like George Henderson.

“I love the energy the entire family provides, as an example to others,” Henderson said. “It’s just . . . hope.”

 

Kevin Durant claps back at Colin Cowherd on Instagram after criticism

Kevin Durant claps back at Colin Cowherd on Instagram after criticism

Kevin Durant didn't need a burner account this time.

With all the drama surrounding Durant and Warriors teammate Draymond Green, Colin Cowherd responded harshly on his show The Herd. As Green reportedly dared Durant to leave the Warriors in free agency, Cowherd believes Durant needs the Warriors more than the back-to-back champs need him.

To no surprise, Durant understandly didn't take the criticism too well. On his own personal Instagram account, Durant clapped back to the talk show host.

Durant says he's done talking about the feud he and Green got into during an overtime loss to the Clippers. But the more he engages on social media, the longer this story will have life.

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 21-point loss to Rockets

Two positives, two negatives from Warriors' 21-point loss to Rockets

HOUSTON -- Shooting poorly, committing a series of ghastly turnovers and lacking verve, the Warriors were at their worst Thursday night in Houston.

They lost big, 107-86, to the Rockets and had no immediate answers.

Here are two positives (yes, two) and two negatives culled from the defeat:

NEGATIVES

The All-Stars were woeful

With Stephen Curry out, the bulk of the production falls upon Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All three came up short.

Durant scored 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 0-of-2 from deep and 8-of-8 from the line. He grabbed five rebounds, with two assists and two turnovers. He was minus-11 over 30 minutes. His defense was too often casual.

Green had played only once in 11 days and looked the part. The Rockets dared him to shoot and he was scoreless (0-of-3, 0-of-2 from deep). His five assists were more than offset by five turnovers. He said he was “horrible.” He was.

It’s a must that Thompson scores, and he managed only 10 points (5-of-16, 0-of-5 beyond the arc). He didn’t get many clean looks, so he forced a few shots. Worse, he committed three turnovers without an assist.

Explains a lot, eh?

Something in the air

The Warriors clearly weren’t locked in. It was the third game in four nights, each game in a different city, this one in a different time zone.

Those were factors, perhaps, but the joyless buzz of the week created by the Durant-Green quarrel seemed to be evident in the team’s failure to put together stretches of strong play. The Warriors looked less like a team prepared to destroy an opponent than a team trying to make it through the night.

There was the cascade of turnovers, giving the Rockets 29 points (the Warriors forced only eight, worth 7 points). There was an utter lack of rhythm, some of which can be attributed to Houston’s keyed-up defense and some of it to experimental lineups that had mixed results.

The challenge falls on coach Steve Kerr and his staff, as well as the team’s star players. It may take time. Until they get past this, the Warriors will be vulnerable.

POSITIVES

No signs of irritation between Durant and Green

Durant still is bothered by being publically upbraided by Green. The Warriors were bothered enough by it to suspend Green for one game.

Because of that, all eyes were on them as they took the court for the first time since their late-game argument on the bench that continued in the locker room. They passed the eye test.

[POOLE: The anguish of Kevin Durant now dealing with more drama on the Warriors]

Durant’s second bucket, a dunk 68 seconds into the game, came off a feed from Green. There were moments when the two smiled in the wake of miscommunication on the court and they shared a laugh on the bench.

There was no sign of annoyance. Rather, it appeared they went out of their way to maintain a professional veneer. That’s sufficient for now.

Evans gets his first splash

Rookie guard Jacob Evans III had played a total of 10 minutes in the team’s first six games this month. He played 11 on Thursday. Maybe that, along with a stint with G-League Santa Cruz last week, helped.

The Cincinnati product made his first 3-pointer of the season, draining it from the right corner with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter. There was no celebration.

Evans had taken only two shots from deep before Thursday. He was 2-of-11 overall from the field before going 1-of-3 on Thursday.

The rookie plays solid defense. But he’ll have to make a few shots to get floor time. Maybe this will get him going.