My eyebrows raised probably a lot later than the average NBA fan…mostly because I was too distracted by the happenings in New York City. It was February 27, 2013, and I was on my way to Madison Square Garden to pick up a pair of two free tickets to watch the then not worst in the NBA, New York Knicks, battle the then not best in the NBA, Golden State Warriors. I was ecstatic.
The game itself was nothing short of amazing. My Knicks won, despite Stephen Curry’s career-high 54-point night. Being in the stands was surreal. My brother and I saw each shot fall in, and as much as my head ached from the less than two hours of sleep I got the night before…The Can’t Miss Kid was putting on a spectacular show, and I wanted to witness it.
Fast forward to December 2013. The NBA hosted a giveaway on Twitter for the holidays. When a Steph Curry signed jersey was the prize at stake, I chimed in my answer to the question about his performance from that same night at the Garden. Whoever runs the NBA account randomly selected my tweet to win the jersey, and now, it currently hangs in my room.
Steph Curry also covers the latest issue of SLAM, the magazine I am blessed to write for. He’s one of the hottest names in the NBA right now, making a strong argument for MVP as his Warriors have the best record in the league. For the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in New York City last weekend, he was scheduled to battle Washington Wizards guard John Wall in a game of HORSE on Saturday afternoon, appear in the Shooting Stars and 3-Point Shootout competitions that night, and then start for Team West at the All-Star Game on Sunday. All that, plus, his debut signature shoe, the Under Armour Curry One was to launch that same weekend. It was a busy few days for Steph Curry, to say the least.
Usually, All-Star Weekend is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the event that pulled me into the basketball world. With this year’s events so close to home, I thought I’d be more excited than ever. But as we all know, the week leading up to All-Star was no easy one for the Muslim community. We learned of the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute, the hate-driven vandalism at an Islamic school in Rhode Island, the murder of Mustafa Mattan and of Our Three Winners—Yusor, Razan, and Deah.
All-Star Weekend simply didn’t have the same appeal as it usually does.
My interest with the weekend’s festivities fluctuated. I heard it was good, and I’m glad. What stood out for me wasn’t Zach LaVine’s superb slam dunks for the trophy. It wasn’t Dirk Nowitzki receiving an alley-oop for the first time in years. It wasn’t Russell Westbrook’s 41 points and numerous high-flying jams in the Garden.
It was Stephen Curry’s tweet,
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) February 13, 2015
— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) February 15, 2015
and his condolences.
Stephen Curry could’ve easily kept his prayers private, without a peep to the public about his thoughts. But even with all the hoopla surrounding All-Star Weekend, his name, and his brand, he took some time out to acknowledge what was going on and send some love to the families of Our Three Winners.
As an American Muslim who happens to be a fan of the NBA…I can’t thank Steph Curry enough. I know it was a small gesture, and in the bigger picture (like I’m talking Akhirah), this may still be something of the Dunya. But even still, my respect for Curry’s game and person has skyrocketed. He’s definitely the MVP in my book.