Stephen Curry pays tribute to President Obama with MLK Day sneakers

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4612/" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Curry">Stephen Curry</a> and the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/gsw/" data-ylk="slk:Golden State Warriors">Golden State Warriors</a> pose with President Barack Obama during a White House visit on Feb. 4, 2016. (Getty Images)
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors pose with President Barack Obama during a White House visit on Feb. 4, 2016. (Getty Images)

When Stephen Curry entered Oracle Arena on Monday for the Golden State Warriors’ highly anticipated matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the marquee game of the NBA’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day slate, he did so wearing a T-shirt featuring a caricature of President Barack Obama dribbling the basketball performing what looks like the East Bay Funk Dunk:

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When he actually took the court for the contest, he was rocking another tribute to Obama, who will give way to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, Jan. 20 — a specially designed pair of his Under Armour Curry 3 sneakers paying tribute to the first black president in American history:

Stephen Curry paid tribute to President Barack Obama with his sneakers on Monday night. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry paid tribute to President Barack Obama with his sneakers on Monday night. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

The red, white and blue kicks feature the presidential seal on the outside of the tongue; the number 44 on the inside of the tongue, in recognition of Obama being the 44th president of the United States; and Obama’s signature along the sole alongside the words “Back2Back,” which works as a reference to both Curry’s consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player awards and Obama’s victories in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections:

Nick DePaula of Nice Kicks has more details on the special signature shoe:

Along with the main mid-top image, Curry captioned earlier on Instagram: “Honoring our President Barack Obama today on court! He embodies the inspiration, faith & hope Dr. King stood for! We R Forever Grateful! #44”

The respect between the two has long been mutual. To put things in presidential terms, Obama has often admired the “clowning” that Curry has become known for on court, with his long-range shooting and shifty dribbling that’s led to the Warriors’ continued success. Last season, Barack even admitted that Curry is the “greatest shooter I’ve ever seen.”

Obama and Curry have become friends and golfing buddies over the years, as detailed in February by Michael Lee of The Vertical:

Considering the league-wide fascination with all things Curry, it might be hard to believe that Curry made his All-Star debut just two years ago, when he was stunned to learn that Obama even knew about him. After listening to a snippet of an interview in 2014 in which Obama told Charles Barkley that Curry was the best shooter he’s “ever seen,” the face of the league’s 3-point revolution could only laugh, applaud and blush from slight embarrassment with the TNT crew.

“For the president to love basketball and watch what we do, and be a fan of the game, that means a lot,” Curry told The Vertical.

A year later, Curry was in the White House having a private meeting with Obama and taking photos with the president’s Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny, for reasons that had nothing to do with basketball. For the past four seasons, Curry has donated insecticide-treated mosquito nets for every 3-pointer he makes as part of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign to combat malaria in Africa. Curry’s former Davidson teammate, Bryant Barr, introduced him to the malaria cause, which led to Curry address dignitaries as part of the President’s Malaria Initiative. […]

It’s all too much. It’s all too surreal. It’s all, kind of, normal.

“I don’t really know how to comprehend what’s going on,” Curry told The Vertical. “I just try to be in the moment.”

Curry has worked with the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, aimed at helping close opportunity and achievement gaps for young men of color, specifically those from low-income communities. Obama and Curry even became comedy partners in a public service announcement for the program that saw the president give the 3-point-shooting superstar some pointers on his jumper:

And, when the Warriors visited the White House after winning the 2015 NBA title, the president took the opportunity to poke fun at the two-time MVP’s celebratory dancing — excuse me: “clowning” — after knocking down shot after ridiculous shot:

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Curry isn’t the only Warrior wearing special kicks on Monday night. Forward Draymond Green took the floor at Oracle rocking a special pair of Nikes bearing the phrase “SIDELINE RACISM,” worn in support of RISE (the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality), a nonprofit founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross that aims to to “[harness] the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.”

Klay Thompson, too, got a special pair of MLK Day/Black History Month Antas for the showcase:

A number of Nike and Jordan Brand athletes — including Cleveland’s James and Kyrie Irving — also took the floor on Monday wearing special all-black player editions of their customary kicks “in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., and the principles of equality and service that he stood for”:

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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