Curry class har­nesses hoop hopes Steph and Seth hit Bei­jing to give kids les­son they’ll never for­get

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Schoolkid Zhang Ziyu has long dreamt of play­ing like Stephen Curry — she just never imag­ined she would move nearer that goal guided by her idol face to face.

Zhang was one of 30 lucky boys and girls left awestruck as the Curry broth­ers graced a Bei­jing court on Satur­day to help out with Jr. NBA All-Star Week, part of the league’s ef­forts to pro­mote the sport in China.

Af­ter putting the young­sters through their drib­bling paces, Golden State War­riors megas­tar Stephen and younger brother Seth, of the Dal­las Mav­er­icks, coached two teams of kids in an ex­hi­bi­tion game at Bei­jing Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

“Watch­ing him drib­ble like this on TV was crazy, and now fol­low­ing him to prac­tice the cross­over and be­tween-the-leg drib­bles was un­be­liev­able. He is such a big star but a nice teacher to work with,” beamed Zhang, a mid­dle-school stu­dent from Shi­ji­azhuang, He­bei prov­ince.

As part of the youth train­ing pro­gram, which ran from July 17 to 21, a to­tal of 230 stu­dents from 11 prov­inces were se­lected to be coached by NBA-level train­ers and boost their team­work and lead­er­ship skills.

But only did he bring his gen­eros­ity and ex­per­tise, twotime NBA cham­pion Stephen also brought the Larry O’Brien Tro­phy, which the War­riors won for the se­cond time in three years af­ter beat­ing the Cleve­land Cava­liers 4-1 in the Fi­nals last month. He was clearly still buzzing from that vic­tory.

“When you win the cham­pi­onship, you have the abil­ity to tell a lot of pow­er­ful sto­ries about the jour­ney,” said Curry, who is on a five-day China trip or­ga­nized by his spon­sor Un­der Ar­mor.

“Af­ter win­ning the cham­pi­onship, be­ing able to be in a po­si­tion now where I can in­spire fans across the world is some­thing truly spe­cial.”

And what ad­vice for as­pir­ing young hoop hope­fuls?

“I will tell any­body in the Jr. NBA that no mat­ter what age you are, you can al­ways get bet­ter and you can al­ways chal­lenge your­self to push your­self to the next level,” said Curry, 29, whose fa­ther Dell

Af­ter win­ning the cham­pi­onship, be­ing able to be in a po­si­tion now where I can in­spire fans across the world is some­thing truly spe­cial.” Stephen Curry took part in clin­ics as part of Jr. NBA All-Star Week, from July 17 to 21

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was an NBA player too.

“En­joy the process and en­joy who you play with. You can cre­ate bonds with new friends which last for life.”

The two-time league MVP’s hands-on par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pro­gram and his hum­ble, every­man de­meanor left both fans and or­ga­niz­ers stoked.

“We are de­lighted to see that Stephen and Seth are will­ing to spend their time pro­mot­ing youth bas­ket­ball in China,” said David Shoe­maker, CEO of NBA China.

“Hav­ing these great play­ers in China to work di­rectly with Chi­nese stu­dents con­tin­ues our ef­forts to teach bas­ket­ball and the val­ues of the game at the grass­roots level and en­cour­age ac­tive, healthy lifestyles.”

As the pro­gram con­tin­ues, the Brook­lyn Nets’ Chi­ne­seAmer­i­can guard Jeremy Lin, a mem­ber of the NBA China Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, will host two more ju­nior clin­ics in Shen­zhen on Tues­day and Shang­hai on Satur­day.

The Jr. NBA, the league’s global youth bas­ket­ball pro­gram, teaches the fun­da­men­tal skills as well as the core val­ues of the game at the grass­roots level in an ef­fort to help grow and im­prove the youth­bas­ket­ball ex­pe­ri­ence for play­ers, coaches and par­ents.

Last sea­son, the pro­gram reached out to over 18 mil­lion kids in 53 coun­tries.

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