A Letter to Stephen Curry from a Fan
Dear Sports Star: Your anti-Trump tirade was beneath you
I’ve been a big fan for a long time. I was a scoring point guard and captain of my high school basketball team. My dad was a very good college player. Your dad played on a bigger stage with the Charlotte Hornets. Both of our dads taught us there were more important things in life than basketball.
I first saw you play in your freshman year at Davidson College. It was clear that you were destined for a great college career. You were a point guard’s point guard. You could handle the ball, see the floor, shoot the long three, and you could drive the lane and finish.
That may be the most valuable talent not only in basketball, but life — creating for others.
You were small but fearless. You were a scorer, but you were selfless. You could shoot the lights out, but you could create shots for your teammates, too. And that may be the most valuable talent not only in basketball, but life — creating for others.
When you left Davidson at the end of your junior year as the nation’s leading scorer, many doubted someone as small and skinny as you could make it in the NBA. Some questioned your toughness. They thought you’d get beaten up by the bigger, stronger NBA guards. You defied the odds. And the skeptics.
And then you did something even I didn’t expect. Maybe you didn’t either. You got better. And better. Until you became one of the dominant players in the NBA.
You also became a great leader. And always, you lead by example. When you and your other half, “Smash Brother” Clay Thompson, broke the NBA record in the 2013-2014 season for most combined three-pointers (484), I was surprised. No one had deployed the three-point shot the way you guys did. Never had it been used as an offensive weapon. You changed the game, and gave every little guy with a great shot and a love of the game a reason to dream bigger.
The following season, the two of you broke that same record again (525 three-pointers), and not satisfied, the Smash Brothers went on to smash your own record with 678 three-pointers.
What was and is most pleasing to watch, however, is the joy you exhibit playing the game — the joy you exhibit when your teammates do something great. You often seem happier with them than you do with your own performance, which is the true mark of a leader.
It’s also the true mark of a Christian. Humility is the most important of the Christian virtues. I am a Christian, and love the way you carry yourself on the floor. I love it when you pound your chest and point to the sky after each shot you make. You don’t hide your faith. At the same time, you don’t hammer people with your faith, either.
I love the fact that on some of your “Curry One” sneakers, there’s a lace loop scripted “4:13.” It’s a Bible verse from Philippeans, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I love that tattoo on your wrist from 1 Corinthians which says, in Hebrew, these words: “Love never fails.”
That tattoo on your wrist from 1 Corinthians says, in Hebrew: “Love never fails.”
I love that a guy as skilled, as smart, as famous, and as rich as you is not afraid to talk about love. And show your love for God.
When you received the NBA’s MVP a few years back, the speech you gave was so beautiful. You put God first. You then thanked your mom for always being there. You fought back tears thanking your dad for teaching you how to be a man, and cried for all of the men in this world who never had a father. I cried, too.
I also admire the way you conduct yourself off the court. I know I won’t ever read a headline about you abusing a woman, or abusing anyone. You are living a life that is admirable, good, and decent. Your wife and two precious daughters are lucky to have a husband and a father like you. And you know you’re lucky to have them.
I have admired you up close at games, and from afar on TV — which is why I am so disappointed by your recent comments regarding Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and President Donald Trump.
Plank had just left a visit from the White House with some corporate leaders when he was asked to comment on the meeting. Plank described President Trump as an “asset” to the country, and also described him as a “pro-business president.”
Rather than call Plank, with whom you have a very special partnership, to find out what he meant by those words, you did something I didn’t expect from you. You took a cheap shot at him. And President Trump. And the millions of fans who love you and also happened to vote for a man you insulted.
“I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et,'” you told a local reporter, referring to Plank’s description of Trump as an asset.
And there it was. You called the president of the United States an a**.
It was so beneath you, Stephen. Because Plank was simply stating what millions of people who voted for Trump believed: that he'd do a better job than Hillary Clinton in growing our economy. A better job creating better jobs — better paying jobs — for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
When asked whether you would consider leaving Under Armour if the company's values began to align with Trump's, you responded affirmatively.
"If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn't jump off if it wasn't in line with who I am," you said.
I respect that. And so I wonder: What values do you support when it comes to religious tolerance? As you may or may not know, Christians are being slaughtered or being asked to renounce their faith by radical Islamists all over the Middle East. Is that a value you support?
As you may or may not know, Christians are being slaughtered or being asked to renounce their faith by radical Islamists all over the Middle East. Is that a value you support?
Muslim themselves are the biggest victims of this radical strain in the Muslim faith, and the vast majority of Muslims want what all people want, which is to live in peace. But there are many radical Islamists — too many — around the globe seeking to do harm to others who don't agree with their worldview. Some of them wish to enter the United States. Shouldn't that be a core value of any president, to do his best to protect fellow citizens from those kinds of evils? And can't reasonable people disagree about how to best effectuate that outcome?
And what about the treatment of gays and women in so many Middle Eastern countries? Women can't vote, let alone drive in many of them, and being gay is punishable by death. Does any of that resonate with your core values? We are not bigots when we point these truths out, Stephen.
You talk about your faith in God being your highest priority, and I stand with you. But when you endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton, did her position on late-term abortions square with your core values? Or the position of her party, as we watched the Democratic National Committee all but remove God from their platform?
I am a Christian who, like some, doesn't believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and I am also glad that gay people have a right to marry in this country. But do your core values support the targeting of Christian businesses by gay couples seeking to do them harm solely because of their religious beliefs? Is it right to target one Christian baker when one knows many other bakers in the neighborhood willing to bake a cake and happily serve it at a gay wedding?
Who is doing the discriminating, the bullying, there, Stephen?
Isn't doing no harm to your neighbor a core value? Shouldn't we learn to love one another despite our differences? Love, it says right there on your wrist, never fails?
Is calling the president of the United States an a** your way of showing it?
Here is what I found most disappointing about your rebuttal to Kevin Plank. You know him. You know his heart, and his commitment to his city, Baltimore — one of the most politically progressive cities in the country, and one with a large African-American population. Plank's commitment to that city is unrivaled. You know that. You also know very well his commitment to diversity and to building a community that includes people of every faith, class, gender, sexual orientation — and political orientation.
I will forgive this transgression because that's what Christians are implored to do every day.
Yes, diversity includes diversity of ideas, Stephen. That's what hurt the most about your little tirade. It was cheap, not clever. It was disrespectful to Plank. You should have just called him.
It was also disrespectful to people who view the world differently politically than you do. And worse, it had the feeling of a threat.
You know you can do harm to a great brand. And you didn't mind letting Kevin Plank know, in a public way, that he'd best be careful. That's what you, and athletes like you, were doing. And you know it.
That was your pride showing. It was ugly, a word I've never used before to describe you. But being a Christian, you know the perils of pride. And the ugly things we do because of our pride.
Know that I am, and will always be, a big fan of yours. I'll be rooting for your merry band of Warriors to stick it to the Cavaliers this spring. And praying for you and your family. I will forgive this transgression because that's what Christians are implored to do every day: Forgive ourselves and our neighbors. Those very same neighbors our God commands us to love. No matter what our political beliefs.
All the best, and hope to hear back from you,
P.S. The author sent this letter to Curry's agent. He is hoping for a reply.
Lee Habeeb is VP of content for Salem Radio Network and host of "Our American Stories." He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, Valerie, and his daughter, Reagan.