SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s tireless work off the basketball court campaigning for social justice, supporting women's causes and even interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci about the coronavirus pandemic is drawing acclaim from civil rights leaders.
The NAACP has given him its Jackie Robinson Sports Award. And, for the first time, the nation's oldest civil rights organization is recognizing more than one person by honoring the WNBA Players Association.
“This award is truly a humbling and honoring experience. It kind of came by surprise in terms of when you do things in the community and speak on things you believe, it's about the collective effort, not just myself but everybody who is around me in terms of accountability to change,” Curry said in remarks provided to The Associated Press by a team spokesman. Curry was unavailable for a formal interview while resting a tailbone injury suffered Wednesday night in Houston.
“You don't really do it for the acknowledgment, it's more so about the work that you're doing, that this is a great opportunity to continue to speak on things that are important and honor the legacy of Jackie Robinson and what he stood for and the change he was able to create and the barriers he was able to break and to continue these conversations,” Curry added. “So I'm appreciative of the acknowledgment, the honor and if it gives more inspiration and energy to keep changing things in terms of what needs to happen for the Black community across the country then I'm all about it.”
The 33-year-old Curry, Golden State's two-time NBA MVP, held a YouTube question-and-answer forum with Fauci last March near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would borrow a Maya Angelou quote to describe Steph and his leadership: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,’” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in an email.
“Steph has certainly made people in the Bay Area and all over the world feel joy. His commitment to social activism and support of women are another part of the fabric that makes up the person that he is. I’m honored to know him for what he does both on and off the court,” Myers added. “And a much deserved congratulations to the women of the WNBA who continue to fearlessly pursue what is right.”
The Jackie Robinson award — named for the late Dodgers great who broke baseball’s racial barrier — recognizes athletes for their success as well as their commitment to social justice, civil rights and their communities.