When 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake was shot on August 23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin by a white cop, Rusten Sheskey, the NBA protested a group of scheduled playoff games, beginning with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks, and subsequently, the opposing Orlando Magic, didn’t come out of the locker room in protest. It was their continued push for social equality, which, along with the NBA, MLS, NWSL, and NHL, had been a forefront concern while in their respective bubbles this past summer.
Coming off the most injury-riddled season of his career, where a broken hand (along with COVID worldwide) kept him from playing more than five games, Steph Curry — a father of three — watched from outside The Bubble as his NBA brothers continued to make stands. He called for everyone to wake up in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting.
In an exclusive Q & A on ESPN’s The Undefeated with Marc Spears, Curry discussed a wide range of topics, including Blake’s shooting, being a dad through this trying year, the fight for racial equality, and the signature event of this month.
“You look at the election, you look at voter turnout, you look at what’s happening in Georgia with Stacey Abrams and what she’s leading down there. There’s real change happening,” Curry told Spears. “Will we see it in our lifetime? Hopefully. But I think we’re trying to all leave a legacy and a new reality for our kids and their kids. I don’t know how they’re going to write this in the history books, but this is a very meaningful, influential time right now. Everybody has to play their part.”
Last season, the NBA had ‘Black Lives Matter’ written across courts, across warm-ups, and made the message the core of their many media conferences. Curry tells Spears while Black Lives Matter won’t be on the courts this season, the NBA still has to play its role in helping drive real change in America.
“It’s going to be on each individual … the collective awareness of how we continue to leverage our platforms in a meaningful way,” he said. “Whether that’s our social channels, whether that’s using our interviews and media availability, whether that’s what we do in the community. Even if it’s not a microphone or a camera there, there’s so many different ways that guys can continue that momentum and leverage resources, awareness, support to changing the tide of our society.”
Curry also discussed Klay Thompson’s ruptured Achilles tendon, the addition of Kelly Oubre, the Warriors move from Oakland to San Francisco, and his broken hand recovery. On Thompson in particular, he said the news of his injury, which will keep him out a second straight season, was ‘tough to get.’
“To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears, a lot of you don’t really know what to say, because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back.”
With Golden State beginning a second consecutive season short-handed, one way or another, 2020-21 will be another defining year for the remainder of Curry’s career. By the looks of it, though, it will be even more impactful away from basketball.