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