Warriors

Warriors' Steph Curry once again goes above and beyond for Bay Area

Warriors' Steph Curry once again goes above and beyond for Bay Area

Guess it wasn’t enough that Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha, decided through their “Eat. Learn. Play.” foundation to assist in providing 1 million meals to Oakland students for at least the next three weeks, while schools are closed due to the coronavirus crisis.

It wasn’t enough that Curry was a strong voice in the Warriors’ decision to create a $1 million fund to lend a financial hand to more than 1,000 Chase Center hourly employees whose jobs are on pause as the building sits empty.

OK, Steph. You’ve done your part. Your efforts are appreciated. You can stop now. Enjoy the weekend at home with your family.

Oh, but he didn’t stop. He did not rest on Sunday.

Curry joined more than 400 American CEOs in signing an open letter challenging all business executives of similar authority and influence to take dramatic measures to combat COVID-19.

The letter is a pledge to alter how we work, such as allowing all employees to work from home “whenever possible,” do more to support first responders and healthcare workers, request employees to avoid voluntary public events of any size and commit time to supporting state and local communities. Furthermore, employees, friends and family are “encouraged” to practice social distancing by refraining from visiting bars, restaurants and gyms while simultaneously urging employees, if able, to buy gift cards from local businesses.

As of early Monday morning, with the signature count approaching 500, Curry was the only athlete on the list.

Curry’s response to this crisis is keeping with the vow he made nearly three years ago upon signing a max contract worth $201 million over five seasons. After winning consecutive MVP awards while on a four-year contract with $44 million, he was sitting in a humid Walnut Creek gym speaking of making major contributions to sports and society in general.

“I don't want to get too deep into it but for the last couple years (I’ve been) trying to figure out how I can make the most impact off the court on a consistent and impactful basis,” he said.

“Going forward and keying in on the Bay Area specifically to hopefully leave a lasting impact for all the good that has happened in my life and my family here since I've been here the last eight years. Obviously, over the next five to really impact the community for the better and use my platform, not only just dollars but my platform and connections and ideas to make that happen.

“The contract puts more of a responsibility (on me) to make that happen and I'm obviously aware of that. And I have a great team around me that's going to help me do that."

There never was a question of whether Curry meant what he said. He has a history of speaking lofty goals into existence, most notably in 2009, seven games into his NBA career. The Warriors were 2-5, with four of the five losses by double digits, when he took to Twitter promising fans that “We will figure this thing out . . . If it’s the last thing we do, we will figure it out.”

I’ve attended nearly a dozen events in the past few years where Curry lent himself to the community in a variety of ways. Learning centers. Basketball-court refurbishments. Hydration promotions. Food and toiletry giveaways. Shoe giveaways.

And, no, we didn’t forget Steph’s trick last summer, when he resurrected the long-dormant golf program at historically black Howard University by funding it – in an amount reluctantly described as “seven figures” – for six seasons, beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

Didn’t have to.

Did it anyway.

Most athletes donate to worthy causes, but Curry finds a way to maintain elite status in this category – while still signing autographs before games, home and away.

Though some Warriors executives still worry Steph stretches himself a bit too thin, he still manages to take to the court and remind observers that he conceivably has done more to revolutionize the game of basketball than any player, ever.

And yet, some keyboard gangsters still can’t resist throwing shade at Curry. To suggest he didn’t deserve back-to-back MVP awards. To point out that he doesn’t have a Finals MVP award. To imply that he doesn’t defend; OK, there are times when he, um, preserves himself.

[RELATED: Steph can't stop watching his own highlights during hiatus]

No doubt some of the silly salt is sprinkled upon Curry because he didn’t grow up in the struggle, as conventionally defined. Never worried about going hungry or having decent shoes. Never had to dodge gangs on the way to and from school. Never had to deal with the post-traumatic stress that comes with hearing gunshots and sirens on the regular.

Except Curry did struggle. He fought for acceptance and respect. He wasn’t a blue-chip, can’t-miss, five-star, oh-my-god-wait-until-he-gets-to-the-league kid. The struggle is, at bottom, about proving one’s worth.

Curry still, somewhere in his psyche, fights that fight.

So, it seems anyone, no matter their favorite team or their favorite player, willing peep Curry’s full résumé – basketball and beyond – can only come away impressed.

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

While the NBA is inching closer to resuming the 2019-20 season, Europe's top basketball league decided not to pursue the same avenue.

The EuroLeague announced Monday that it was canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Each EuroLeague team had played 28 of their 34 regular-season games.

Ordinarily, the EuroLeague ending its season wouldn't be news for the Warriors and their fans. But 2020 has been a completely different year for the Warriors. Mired in a 15-50 season, Golden State will have a top-five pick in this year's NBA draft.

That means 19-year-old Israeli prospect Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, is on the Warriors' radar. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported at the end of April that the Warriors have traveled to Europe to take a look at Avdija, who could be a top-five draft pick.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

With the Warriors missing the playoffs this season, the team was going to use the unexpected free time in May to go scout prospects in Europe. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly was supposed to go watch Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, while Kent Lacob, director of team development, was going to scout Avdija. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the Warriors to cancel those travel plans.

Due to travel restrictions, the Warriors likely wouldn't have been able to send anyone to watch Avdija play in the final six EuroLeague games had they been held, but they could have at least gotten more film on him. Now, they will have to form their opinion of Avdija with the in-person scouting they've already done and the film they have on hand.

In 21 games this season against Israel Basketball Super League competition, Avdija averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.6 minutes.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Mock Draft 7.0]

Avdija hasn't seen as much playing time in the EuroLeague, so his numbers aren't great. In 26 games against better competition, he's averaging 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.2 minutes.

We don't know when the NBA will hold the 2020 draft, but if the Warriors select Avdija, we'll know they saw enough of him before the coronavirus put a stop to basketball around the world.

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Sunday’s “The Match,” featuring a showdown between NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady along with PGA icons Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was a smashing success. The event raised $20 million for coronavirus relief in the United States, and was the highest-rated golf event in cable television history.

The access and humorous trash talk throughout has led many to speculate as to which duo from sports could be part of the next iteration of the event. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd discussed this on Monday and posed some interesting potential pairings.

"Michael has always let it be known that he's pretty good at golf," Cowherd said. "Steph is easily the best current NBA golfer, that I would pay to see."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry tweeted Sunday that he’d like to be included next time around, and sure enough Cowherd first mentioned a duel between the Warriors star and another NBA icon with North Carolina roots in Michael Jordan. MJ was shown to play golf frequently throughout his NBA career during ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” and continues to be a fan of the sport.

Curry is an avid golf fan and was glued to his television Sunday during “The Match.” He’s played in some professional golf events in the past, and always is among the best current athletes at the celebrity-laden American Century Championship each summer in Lake Tahoe.

Given MJ’s propensity to trash talk during his historic NBA career, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be trading barbs constantly with Curry. Steph’s confidence never has been in question and he likely would have plenty of fun going back and forth with Jordan.

[RELATED: Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match']

Throwing a couple PGA pros in, especially two who are avid NBA fans could make for some great conversation. As we saw throughout Sunday’s foursome, Mickelson and Woods were more than willing to engage and dish out some one-liners.

MJ likely wouldn’t be thrilled about being mic’d up for an entire round with no editorial control. But if both parties would be willing, this would be the most highly-anticipated event in the history of golf.

Plus we finally could settle that pesky debate of which team was more dominant between Curry’s 2016-17 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.