Steph Curry is one of the most popular players in the NBA, especially among the younger crowd, so he spends a lot of his time both before and after games catering to the kids who love him. He routinely signs autographs for as many as 100 kids after his pregame workouts, and he’s also known for carving out time for sick kids who make wishes to meet with the Warriors star.
It’s why it was so surprising when a video of Curry seemingly ignoring a kid after a game against the Nets back in November went viral. The young boy’s mom posted the clip on Facebook the next day and suggested Curry ignored her son on purpose.
Curry’s wife Ayesha clapped back at those who criticized him for not speaking to the boy. She pointed out that, at the time the video was taken, Curry was focused on trying to find his family in a sea of people. She maintained Curry simply never saw the boy.
Curry himself never responded to the minor controversy the video caused, but he addressed it while speaking with ESPN for a new story on his leadership. Curry told ESPN reporter Chris Haynes the video was a "shock" to him, and he said the video "couldn’t be further from how I carry myself and how I try to handle those situations." Haynes also discovered that Curry took the time to send the boy from the video a personalized clip once he realized the reaction it was receiving.
"In that situation, it’s all about the kid," Curry said. "I don’t care how his mom thinks. It’s just about him because I didn’t want any of that to be any more blown out of proportion that it should be. He matters and that’s important, but I wasn’t going to get into a battle with the mom. I’m not going to try to prove myself to anybody."
Curry also spoke with Haynes about why he spends so much of his time interacting with kids. Curry talked about how he thinks back to the experiences he had as a kid when he would routinely cross paths with NBA players while his father Dell was playing in the league. He remembers some players being "assholes" to him, and the feeling that came along with it is one of the main reasons he does his best to spend time with the kids who come to see him rather than ignoring them.
"I have a different perspective on kids. I was in that position where I was around NBA athletes all the time and I knew which ones were assholes or not," Curry said. "That actually affected me as a kid. My dad's teammates or the people he played against, if I sat in the hallway and I said 'hey' and said 'what's up' to them, if they even said something back to me, that made my day. If they just cold-shouldered me, that hurt. It wasn't a lasting effect, but in the moment, that means a lot. So for kids to come to our games and if they go out of their way to try to connect with me, I do feel a responsibility for the kids for sure because that might make or break their confidence or their spirit on that specific day. That's my only opportunity to impact them in person. But I'm only one person and I can only do so much. So I've got to make sure I keep that balance."
Elsewhere in his interview with ESPN, Curry talked about being a role model for kids, both on and off the court. Additionally, the piece focuses in on what makes Curry such an effective leader for the Warriors. You can read the whole thing here.