OAKLAND -- On the afternoon following the worst shooting performance of his 12-year career, Steph Curry bounces out of a modified bus wearing a smile beneath his Santa cap to greet a crowd of about 200 in a tented parking lot across from the building formerly known as Oracle Arena.
Or, to some, the house that Steph made legendary.
There is cheering. Lots of cheering. He hops onto a makeshift stage and grabs the microphone an begins delivering a message to those doing good deeds at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. The cheering subsides, dwindling to an excited murmur. The Warriors superstar and two-time NBA MVP is proceeds.
“We know this work is necessary in the future and needs to continue,” he says. “And on behalf of Eat. Learn. Play., we would like to grant two and a half million dollars to the continued support ...”
Cheering. Loud cheering, along with clapping and shouts of glee.
“... of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
“We hope that goes a long way to understand that we thank you very much for the work you do and we believe in the work that you do, but also knowing that it’s going to change this community for a very long time,” he adds. “Thank you so much for the ability to be able to put that money to use and be able to celebrate and support Oakland.”
Having gotten two surprises -- Curry’s appearance and a generous early Christmas gift -- the crowd needs nothing more. Well, except photos and autographs with one of the most popular figures in sports history.
Steph and his wife, Ayesha, have served the Bay Area for nearly a decade through their Eat. Learn. Play. foundation. The brightly painted bus is both a food truck and a library, two things that are very welcome in underserved communities. This day was, in some respects, the first stage of the 12 Days of Christmas with the Currys.
“They are the real heroes,” Curry, referring to the food bank crew, said to NBC Sports Bay Area. “I don’t think that many people understand what goes into supporting a city like Oakland, especially during a pandemic.”
The pillars of the foundation are threefold: 1) Provide healthy, balanced nutrition; 2) Address early childhood literacy; and 3) Create safe places for beneficial programs that young people can enjoy. It has provided millions of meals during the pandemic.
The Currys have been homeowners in the Bay Area for nearly a decade, starting as a couple and now as parents of two girls and a boy. They’ve moved several times -- currently living on the peninsula -- but their investment into the region has been a constant.
“This is my 13th year here,” Curry said. “We’ve raised our family here. I understand how much support the community has given us -- on and off the court -- so to have the opportunity to give back all year long, but especially the holidays, when it’s about family and community, it means so much.
“We’re just trying to increase that impact every year.”
The foundation does the research and scours the area to determine the precise needs of a specific neighborhood or city. With Steph as the celebrity sports figure and Ayesha as the restaurateur, the Currys have accumulated a lengthy list of contacts and have access to hallways of power.
And they’re committed to exploiting it to the fullest.
“It’s a marathon,” Curry said. “We understand that. There are deep-rooted issues in the community that need awareness, that need solving, and it starts with the proper opportunity and access for the next generation.”
Any memories of missing 17 of 21 shots in a Warriors loss in Phoenix that weren’t washed away in the preceding hours surely evaporated in the gratifying festival of happiness the next afternoon.
Once again, Curry had reaffirmed his perspective on life.