SAN FRANCISCO — NBA star Stephen Curry is drawing acclaim from civil rights leaders for his work campaigning for social justice, his support of women’s causes and his interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci about the pandemic.
The NAACP has given him its Jackie Robinson Sports Award. And, for the first time, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization is recognizing more than one person by honoring the WNBA Players Association.
“I would borrow a Maya Angelou quote to describe Steph and his leadership: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,’” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in an email.
“Steph has certainly made people in the Bay Area and all over the world feel joy. His commitment to social activism and support of women are another part of the fabric that makes up the person that he is. I’m honored to know him for what he does both on and off the court,” Myers added. “And a much deserved congratulations to the women of the WNBA who continue to fearlessly pursue what is right.”
The 33-year-old Curry, Golden State’s two-time MVP, held a YouTube question-and-answer forum with Fauci last March near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jackie Robinson award — named for the late Dodgers great who broke baseball’s racial barrier — recognizes athletes for their success as well as their commitment to social justice, civil rights and their communities.
“He has a strong platform and he utilizes it to the best of his ability,” teammate Kelly Oubre Jr. said. “He’s a great individual.”
The WNBA players have been applauded for their activism in a unified movement that has featured kneeling for the national anthem, messages supporting Black Lives Matter and protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake in August by following the Bucks’ lead in not playing.
WNBA players also notably called out former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican and former co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, for her criticism of the league’s social justice efforts.
Some players sported T-shirts reading “Vote Warnock” in support of Atlanta pastor Raphael Warnock, a Democrat who defeated Loeffler in a runoff race in January. Warnock became Georgia’s first African American senator.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, outspoken on many issues himself, admires the WNBA players for their activism.
“I love what the WNBA players have done. They’ve really taken the lead with creativity and unity in a lot of important causes, political causes but social injustice issues,” Kerr said. “They’ve made their voices heard. They’ve done it very creatively and powerfully.”
The awards are to be presented during next week’s NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience.
LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie Robinson are among prior recipients.