So far, journalists have spared Steph Curry of the mockery and disdain they poured on Tim Tebow, the last athlete to publicly display flashes of morality.
Whatever happens in the NBA finals, Steph Curry should be on every box of Wheaties. His example is just the antidote to many of the ills currently holding America back.
In an age of vulgarity, he’s humble; in a season of cynicism, he’s a religious family man; in a time of grievance mongering, he peddles grace.
Of course, it is first and foremost his prowess on the court that has earned Curry accolades. Just this week, he scored 36 points in game seven of the conference finals to finally put away Oklahoma City, a team to which Curry’s Golden State Warriors had fallen down 3-1.
Without the fact that he’s the best player in the NBA, Curry would not be on any breakfast box.
But the reason he should be is that he is a much-needed counterbalance to a culture that is increasingly trashy. Whether Curry leads this Golden State Warriors to victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers or not in the NBA Finals, he has shown us that virtue can trump vice.
Curry’s family is intact, and his daughters, 4-year-old Riley and 1-year-old Ryan, were born after Curry married his wife Ayesha (to whom he proposed on the same spot he first gave her a kiss). He grew up under the watchful eye of his father, Dell, also an NBA player in his time. Dell and his wife Sonya, Steph’s mom, are often at games.
At events like awards presentations, Steph thanks his family, right down to sister Sydel and his brother Seth (who are on hand when they are not engaging in their own busy sports careers). But before doing all that, the deeply religious Curry thanks God for his talents, which he knows are a gift that he must nurture.
Many Americans may not know this wholesome story because the media doesn’t really tell it. Yes, so far, journalists have spared Curry of the mockery and disdain they poured on Tim Tebow, the last athlete to publicly display flashes of morality. But Google “Steph Curry and God” and you get next to nothing outside the religious press.
And yet this is a story, if we still define what makes one as anything that is “man bites dog.” The athlete that beats up his girlfriend, uses drugs for recreation or athletic enhancement, is arrogant and self-important, and has children out of wedlock, is sadly more “dog bites man.” And yet, those are the stories the media harp on incessantly.
Granted, Curry does have a tattoo—of 1 Corinthians 13:8. When he scores, he points to heaven to remind himself he is playing for God. When he makes three pointers, he donates nets to help prevent malaria in Africa.
He explained the impact of his family and faith in a 2013 Fellowship of Christian Athletes magazine article. Here’s part of it:
Our whole family was very close in fact, even when it came to school. My mom started a Christian Montessori school when I was in first grade, so we all went there together—Mom was in charge as the head mistress, our aunt was our teacher, and our grandmother was the cook. My brother and sister and I were blessed to have such great influences in our lives, and I can honestly say that my mom and dad were the best. They raised us to believe in God, and we were at church every Wednesday for youth Bible studies and every Sunday for services.
In his acceptance speech after winning the 2014-15 NBA Most Valuable Player award, he laid out his secret formula for success as faith, family, and perseverance. “Work your butt off,” he said. “I hope I inspire people all around the world to just be themselves, be humble, and be grateful for all the blessings in your life.”
This is a mix that time and again leads to success, and yet we seldom celebrate it.
Curry, at 28, shows a wisdom lacking in many of his peers. And although he could still disappoint us someday, at least thus far, the answer to Simon and Garfunkel’s 1968 haunting question can be answered, “Don’t worry, America. Joltin’ Joe is in the Bay Area, playing basketball.”