Steph and Ayesha Curry serving minds, bodies in North Oakland


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.”


Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading an historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move." 

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Steph Curry reveals wild prank Warriors vet played on him as rookie

Hazing happens in all walks of life, including the NBA.

Before Steph Curry became a two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion, he was a rookie.

While in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament last week, he revealed the following story to Chris Simms of NBC Sports on "Unbuttoned":

"I had a vet when I was a rookie -- I had my phone, mind you I'm dating my now wife at the time and I'm going on a road trip so I need my phone obviously -- we had finished practice and we were headed to the airport, and he knew where my phone was.

"He knew I always put it in this little pocket in my backpack. So after practice, I go get in the shower and put my phone in there. I'm kind of late so I'm hustling. He knows after I get out the shower I'm probably not gonna grab my phone.

"Take my phone, locks it in his locker. I get all the way to the airport and realize I don't have my phone. I get off the plane in Oklahoma City, not only did he make me leave my phone at home so I had to go to the store to get another one, he sent me on basically a two-hour errand run to go get video games and snacks.

"This is before Uber or Lyft so I'm in the yellow cab and paying for everything. That's just a headache."

Who was the veteran -- Anthony Tolliver, Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Mikki Moore or Vladimir Radmanovic? Perhaps it was Devean George?

Unfortunately, Curry did not disclose that information.

We also don't know if it was the Dubs' first or second game in Oklahoma City that season.

[RELATEDCurry comments on finding out about KD's decision on plane]

On Dec. 7, Curry registered 22 points, two assists, four steals and five turnovers in a 104-88 loss (Kevin Durant recorded 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and six turnovers).

On Jan. 31, Curry contributed 14 points, five assists and five turnovers in a 112-104 loss (KD racked up 45 points and 11 rebounds).

That likely will remain a mystery, but what we do know is that NBA stars are just like us - pranks and all.

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