Steph Curry is one of the most inspirational players in the National Basketball Association. The newly crowned Western Conference champion is a humble leader, a family man, a team player whose work ethic is second-to-none.
It was that work ethic that allowed him to rise from the ranks of the little-known high school player to NBA MVP. And it's that work ethic, and his personification as an every-day guy, that's leading one Bay Area high school teacher to ask Curry to please stay away.
Matt Amaral is a lifelong Warriors fan. He loves the team, and he loves Curry. But given the opportunity to have Curry visit Mt. Eden High School in Hayward, Calif., he says he'd rather not.
"I have to ask you to do me a solid and make sure you don’t ever come visit my high school," Amaral writes in a blog post directed to Curry.
"When you get involved in soup kitchens, wrap Christmas presents for needy kids, and build homes for the homeless I am inspired. But where those kinds of civic-minded activities have clear benefits, I have to tell you something you probably haven’t heard: Coming to poor high schools like mine isn’t going to help any of these kids out, in fact, it might make things worse."
There is no indication that the NBA is actually trying to send Curry or his teammates to the school. Regardless, Amaral hopes the league never will. He goes on to explain his reasoning.
"If you come to my school you will be your usual inspiring, humble, hilarious, kind self and you will say all the right things. ... I mean, you are such an awesome guy, you are a family man with a wife and daughter, with another on the way. ... You are humble, a leader, and clearly our young men need to meet a man like you. Maybe I’m wrong to write this letter.
But the reason I don’t want you to come has to do with what you won’t say...Because the worst thing you won’t tell them Steph, is that they can’t do it. You won’t tell them that will you? You won’t be able to bring yourself to tell them it is already too late. ... You see, the kids I am talking about do not play year-round, they are not in a travelling league, and they have never even heard of a McDonald’s All-American; they just eat McDonald’s two meals a day and have Hot Cheetos in between."
In his school, most of the students don't have back-up plans, he writes. If they meet Curry and believe they, too, can become NBA stars, they'll likely ditch any other options. He wants them to be realistic.
They are already very good at dreaming about being rich and famous, what we need them to do is get a little more realistic about what is in their control. We need less of an emphasis on sports and celebrity in high school, because it is hurting these kids too much as it is.
He's right to say that most kids, if they are not playing a sport by the time they're in high school, have a very small chance of going pro in that sport. While it might sound like he's counting his kids out, he's really just a concerned teacher trying to encourage them to consider all of their options - especially those beyond going pro.
"Steph," he writes, "you and I know they have a better chance of winning the lottery, but no one seems to tell them these things but me."