Steph & Ayesha Curry Are Playing the Long Game
Game changer. It’s a term often used to describe the best shooter to ever grace the NBA. But the real change is happening off the court, where this duo are determined to lift up the kids of their community, and beyond.
Something is missing—a few things, actually—when the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation hosts its third annual summer fun day for the children of Oakland, California. As the event begins, on a late July morning in the Fruitvale section of the city, the organization’s founders, Stephen and Ayesha Curry, alternately wield paintbrushes and drills as they labor in the heat alongside volunteers to finish building a playground. The place was designed by the kids who will use it, and it includes slides, jungle gyms, monkey bars, and brightly patterned walls—but there’s not a single step-and-repeat carpet, self-congratulatory commemorative plaque, or statue in sight.
When the daylong festivities continue, a few miles south at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, Steph and Ayesha sit in the outfield with 1,200 kids, high-fiving and passing popcorn, as the hometown A’s play the Houston Astros. After the game Stephen mingles with the kids on the field, joining them in race after race around the basepaths. There are selfies with the kids and autographs signed, but no speeches, no awards, no silent auctions or capital campaigns—just a backpack full of books for each kid, which the NBA superstar helps hand out. There are a couple of pitches, but they are aimed not at donors but at home plate—Ayesha’s ceremonial first pitch floats to the batter’s box, while Steph’s sails wide and nearly hits the photographers. The wild pitch is a mistake; the omission of fanfare is not. As the Silicon Valley saying goes, it’s not a bug—it’s a feature.
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