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Golden State Warriors superstar and back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry has received a fair amount of criticism these last few weeks following his team’s NBA Finals collapse against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the supposedly league-breaking acquisition of Kevin Durant in response. While many of the arguments against Curry are specious and unfair, it’s hard to deny that they exist and represent a significant pushback against the elite shooter’s meteoric rise up the ranks of the basketball elite. Curry is still extremely popular, but he’s certainly not beyond reproach.
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The latest bit of criticism thrown Curry’s way might be a little more likely to stick, because it has very little to do with his performance on the court or the state of the Warriors. As our friend Shalise Manza Young of Shutdown Corner wrote on Friday, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett slammed Curry for charging kids from $2,000 to $2,250 for his basketball camp in Hawaii over the July 4 weekend. Bennett, a Super Bowl champion for the NFL’s 2013 season and Pro Bowler for 2015, lives in Oahu during the offseason and does not charge for his annual football clinic, the fourth of which was held this Saturday with 700 children in attendance. Bennett took serious issue with the high cost of Curry’s camp and many other athletes who come through Hawaii for similarly expensive events for children.
Curry has not responded to Bennett directly, but a Monday post on Instagram hints that he saw the criticism. In a message promoting his brother Seth Curry’s camp in Ventura County (north of Los Angeles), Curry pointed out that the new Dallas Mavericks guard offers a much cheaper alternative:
A photo posted by Wardell Curry (@stephencurry30) on Jul 10, 2016 at 12:19am PDT
Again, this post is not a direct response to Bennett. But the reference to the cheaper cost of Seth’s five-hour camp suggests that Steph heard the criticism and gets that most people were unable to afford a $2000 camp regardless of where they live. (It’s also possible that the “TALENTED” bit is a knock on Bennett, although it’s much more likely that he’s just trying to credit his brother’s game.)
Unfortunately, Curry’s acknowledgment of the criticism doesn’t exactly indicate that he has understood and absorbed it. Though significnatly less than his brother’s camp, Seth’s event is pretty expensive, too. The choice for many families is not whether to spend $200 or 10 times that amount to send a child to basketball camp, but whether they can afford any such activities at all. Plus, it’s not clear that Seth’s camp is cheaper as an act of charity — it could just be at the lower price point because it’s hard to justify charging so much for a camp with the name of a guy who didn’t receive his first NBA contract above the minimum until this month.
For that matter, Bennett’s criticism related more specifically to the idea of athletes using Oahu (or any location, really) for its business potential without having any stake in the community. To make just one comparison to the Curry camps, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard charges $325 for his four-day camps in the Portland area and is willing to cover the cost himself in some circumstances. The cost of Lillard’s event is not insubstantial, either, but it represents a pretty good value given the context.
The Warriors can silence many of their haters by winning games on the court, but Curry is going to have to try a little harder to brush off this point of criticism. At this moment, he looks a little out of touch with his fans.
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