Stephen Curry

One F-word appears (repeatedly) in ESPN's profile of Golden State star Stephen Curry, but another doesn't

One F-word appears (repeatedly) in ESPN's profile of Golden State star Stephen Curry, but another doesn't

With the NBA Finals starting tonight, ESPN has published an in-depth feature on "Joy and secret rage: How Steph Curry ignites the Warriors."

The story explores the role of fun and joy in the success of the Golden State Warriors star and his team.

Those familiar with Curry's Christian background might be curious if the F-word makes an appearance in this thought-provoking piece.

Nope, it doesn't — if you were thinking of the word "faith."

But interestingly enough, another F-word is used — even out of the mouth of Curry — in this story. More on that in a moment.

First, though, let's consider a key section of the feature that sets the scene early:

As Steve Kerr is to Stephen Curry, so is Curry to Kerr. It was a revelation that came early in Kerr's first season as Warriors coach. And so mere months into his tenure in Oakland, Kerr decided the dream culture he desired would embody the star player at the very center of it. They would strive to make one of Curry's defining traits their cornerstone. It would be a constant, felt in the practice facility (where music thumps) and film sessions (where jokes fly) and far beyond. It would be one of the few qualities that, in the age of analytics, remained difficult to tally: happiness.

Happiness, huh?

Might Curry's faith have something to do with that?

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Stephen Curry goes to Liberty: Social justice plus God plus sneakers equals news?

Stephen Curry goes to Liberty: Social justice plus God plus sneakers equals news?

First let me confess that this post is inspired, in part, by the fact that it is written while sitting at a desk that allows me to glance to the side and look at the Golden Gate Bridge.

In other words, I am currently attending a journalism conference in Stephen Curry territory.

This location tends to inspire thoughts on Curry, hoops, sneakers and God -- not necessarily in that order, There are, of course, topics that have been discussed many times here at GetReligion (click here for flashbacks) because, well, many (not all) mainstream journalists have struggle to "get" the whole God angle in the remarkable career of this unlikely NBA megastar.

Anyway, I noticed the following report in the daily online offerings of Baptist Press, a denominational news organization that is usually not my go-to source for NBA news. This is not a remarkable story, by any means. In fact, it's rather ordinary -- which is my point. The question that I think some news consumers would ask, once again, is this: "Is this story news? Why or why not?"

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP) -- It didn't take long for Stephen Curry to start talking about Jesus when he stepped to the stage at Liberty University on Wednesday (March 1).
"It's great to feel the passion for Christ that is here," Curry said.
The NBA superstar visited Liberty in support of a sneaker donation initiative called Kick'n It for a Cause during a convocation at the Lynchburg, Va., campus. Kick'n It for a Cause is a combination of two initiatives founded by Liberty students. 'Kick'n It' is a lifestyle brand that seeks to join the passions of sneakers and pop culture with the goal of community service. The brand was started by Liberty alumnus Chris Strachan.
Kick'in It combined forces with another Liberty student, Emmanuel Ntibonera, to encourage students to donate up to 20,000 sneakers by March 1 to be sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ntibonera's native land, to provide footwear to those in need. The footwear will serve as protection from preventable infections caused by improper footwear.

Now, there are several different newsy things going on in this story.

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Kevin Durant bombshell: Could reporters have spotted ties that bind during 'chapels'?

Kevin Durant bombshell: Could reporters have spotted ties that bind during 'chapels'?

When it comes to NBA culture, Oklahoma City is not your normal town. That's a #DUH statement, right there.

Over the years, this theme about Oklahoma City being a family-friendly, Bible Belt kind of place has figured into the story of Kevin Durant, a superstar who has never hidden his faith, all the way back to his Christian high school. (I met him, briefly, when he was being recruited by Baylor and I was on campus for a speaking gig. He did a one-and-done thing with the University of Texas, of course.)

Our own Bobby Ross, Jr., has written about this part of the Durant story -- here and here, for example -- noting that the national press has rarely connected the dots on the faith side of things.

So now Durant has left family-values land to join the Golden State Warriors, heading to northern California, and the hip, secular Bay Area to be specific. That's a big surprise and surely there isn't a faith angle to that outrageous move. Right?

Well, it appears that there is a link there. For example, check out the YouTube at the top of this post. Yes, it's over-the-top evangelical and not news material. But do you spot any Golden State Warriors in it? That brings me to this interesting passage in a feature -- "How the Warriors got Kevin Durant" -- at USA Today:

The Warriors had been hearing that Durant had eyes for their franchise for a while. ... Part of it was relationship-based, with Durant growing close with Warriors players in recent years -- none more so than Curry and super sixth man Andre Iguodala during the FIBA World Championships in 2010.

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#ThunderUp: Jumping on O-K-C bandwagon and exploring religion ghosts on sports page

#ThunderUp: Jumping on O-K-C bandwagon and exploring religion ghosts on sports page

I'm not a huge basketball fan. Baseball is my sport.

But I live in Oklahoma City, and my sons, Brady and Keaton, are Thunder fanatics. The team's surprisingly strong playoff run against historic powerhouses San Antonio and Golden State has the Thunder one win from the NBA Finals. 

With Loud City — OKC's earsplitting fandom — in a frenzy, I've jumped on the bandwagon. 

Thunder up,  y'all!

If you're a regular GetReligion reader, you already know there's a Godbeat angle with the Warriors — the Thunder's Western Conference finals opponent and the team that won an NBA-record 73 games this season.

Think Stephen Curry, the first unanimous NBA MVP.

But what about Oklahoma City? Any potential religion angles here? Ya think?

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Washington Post probes heart of Stephen Curry and finds family (with hint of faith)

Washington Post probes heart of Stephen Curry and finds family (with hint of faith)

That Stephen Curry, how does that guy do what he does? I mean, 402 three-pointers? #Seriously?

Lots of people are asking these questions right now and, I am pleased to say, some people (click here for a previous example or maybe two) are probing deeper than the wonders of his hand-eye coordination and the near miraculous range on his high-arching jump shot.

If reporters are going to ask what makes Curry tick, they have to do more than ask what makes him tick as a basketball phenomenon. If they are going to be honest (and logical) they also need to know what makes him tick as a man, a husband and a father. They may even have to back up and look at how Curry's past, quite literally his spiritual roots, have shaped him.

These kinds of honest, totally journalistic questions (if you are writing about Curry the man) lead straight to his faith and his family.

Thus, the big question: At what point in a Curry feature story does one play the God card (or even worse, the Jesus card)? If the goal is to let readers see Curry's heart, mind and soul, how do you avoid the contents of his heart, mind and soul?

This brings me to the recent Washington Post feature that ran under this headline: "The hidden price Steph Curry pays for making the impossible seem effortless."

Hidden price? That sounds deep.

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ESPN's epic on Nike losing Steph Curry: Yes, that 4:13 Bible reference is part of the story

ESPN's epic on Nike losing Steph Curry: Yes, that 4:13 Bible reference is part of the story

The Golden State Warriors won another NBA game last night, which is not newsworthy in and of itself since the team has been winning at a 90-plus percent rate this year.

However, this was a tough road game against the Utah Jazz and this win makes it highly likely the Warriors -- with a string of home games ahead -- will break one of the most famous records in sports, the 72-10 season by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in 1995-96.

Golden State is led, of course, by reigning MVP Stephen Curry, the baby-faced gunner whose long-range shooting is changing the balance of power in pro basketball. Clearly, The Stephen Curry Moment (click here for my take on the New York Times piece on that) is not over, as you can see by taking a quick trip to ESPN's "Nothin' But Steph" page.

As you would expect, Curry's commercial value is soaring along with his fame. This brings us to an amazing ESPN story -- "You won't believe how Nike lost Steph to Under Armour" -- that ran the other day about how, yes, the powerful, but lazy, gods of Nike basically shunned Curry as a client, with the young megastar jumping into the shoes of the under-dog Under Armour. This 5,000-plus word ESPN epic was so buzz-worthy that The Washington Post ran a story about the story.

GetReligion readers will not be surprised to learn there was a religion angle in this story, one consistent with Curry's strong and very public Christian faith.

GetReligion readers will also be shocked, shocked (not) to learn that this angle is nowhere to be found in the ESPN piece. This is rather hard to do, in light of the fact that Curry has -- since arriving at Under Armour -- been allowed to use "Charged by Belief" as the motto for his brand. Another hint: You will find a "4:13" reference on the Curry shoes, but not in the ESPN feature. Hold that thought.

So how did Nike lose Curry as a client?

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How would Stephen Curry answer this: What does The Stephen Curry Moment mean?

How would Stephen Curry answer this: What does The Stephen Curry Moment mean?

If you are a sports fan and you are currently paying any attention to events on Planet Earth, then you know that we are in the middle of The Stephen Curry Moment.

How long will this last? What is the meaning of this drama, with the elite priests of the sports-journalism world trying to figure out What It All Means? Why is his excellence causing a national debate involving some of the legends of the game? What does it mean when The New York Times runs a long feature under this headline:

It’s Stephen Curry’s Game Now
The Warriors’ butterfly with a jump shot, Curry is changing how we understand basketball

The Times concludes that Curry is transcending his sport and represents an evolutionary breakthrough along the lines of a Babe Ruth or a Wayne Gretzky. The giant photo with the piece captures Curry at the release point of his perfect jumper, with his eyes focused on the target and the most deadly right wrist in sports -- complete with its large tattoo in Hebrew -- in perfect position.

What Hebrew tattoo? Ah, there is the part of the mystery that the Times team has no interest in pursuing. The tattoo (his wife has the same one, and has been studying Hebrew for several years) is an excerpt of 1 Corinthians 13:8 that translates to “love never fails.” It's a statement about their faith, their marriage and their family. Here is the wider context in that New Testament passage:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Can anyone explain celebrity news to me? #ConfusedAboutCurryTebowDuggarsDunham

Can anyone explain celebrity news to me? #ConfusedAboutCurryTebowDuggarsDunham

Let me start with a personal confession. I love sports, college and pros. I love almost all kinds of jazz and popular music. I love old movies, and a few modern ones, and while I'm not a fan of most mainstream television, I love series mini-series from BBC and now the "binge" television era in cable land.

So I am a media-savvy guy, in some ways -- but not others. They key: I have absolutely zero understand of "celebrity culture" at the level of entertainment-news shows, the morning talk shows on major networks, the grocery store tabloids, etc. In other words, I don't know anything about anyone whose last name is or has ever been "Kardashian."

You get the picture?

So with that in mind, let me ask the following question -- which is directly linked to this week's "Crossroads" podcast about recent media storms, large and medium-sized in this case, about the Duggars and Tim Tebow. Click here to tune that in.

My question: In terms of actual talent and importance in American culture at this moment in time, name the hottest, the most significant, "celebrity" powerhouse brand out of the following three options (hyperlinks are to recent GetReligion posts):

(1) Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

(2) Tim Tebow.

(3) Stephen Curry.

Ah, you say, but Curry is not a "Christian" celebrity.

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Stephen Curry can do all things? Public-service note for scribes covering NBA playoffs

Stephen Curry can do all things? Public-service note for scribes covering NBA playoffs

Hey, old people who read GetReligion and know rock 'n' roll history (Hello Ira): Do you remember the days when people would write "Eric Clapton is God" on walls in London?

I think we are just about to hit that point with the so-hot-he-might-hurt-your-eyes hoops comet named Stephen Curry. Yes, I saw "The Move" against the Clippers (video above). Yes, I have seen the social media tsunami linked to "The Shot" last night to send that playoff game against New Orleans into overtime.

The press coverage of young master Curry is ramping up and, at some point, the mainstream news scribes are going to have to talk about his Christian faith. If you know the history of Curry and his NBA elite family, you know that this will at some point lead to his shoes and things written on his shoes. Think of it as the sequel to the black paint First Amendment Zones underneath Tim Tebow's eyes.

As a public-service announcement for journalists, I would like to flash back to some earlier GetReligion commentary about the press commentary about the biblical commentary on Curry's shoes -- starting when he was in college at Davidson. Does anyone remember this? A reporter wrote:

On the red trim at the bottom of his shoes, Stephen Curry has written in black marker, “I can do all things.”
Yes, yes he can. And because of him, Davidson is marching on.

Ah, but should that have been "Him" instead of "him"?

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