Rick Reilly on Curry: why we should all love Steph

Christian Petersen

Say what you will about Rick Reilly's writing style but a great cause is a great cause.

In January, in the midst of the San Francisco 49ers shift to an elite team, Rick Reilly penned a piece on another Bay Area athlete, urging Colin Kaepernick to reunite with his birth mother. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it was probably best to let that one die down, as Kaepernick's personal life is his and his alone. There's plenty to be said, and have been written, about Reilly's work but his recent feature on Stephen Curry in Tanzania is what we idealize in our favorite athletes.

A couple passages:

These refugees don't know dunks, nor do they know why a 25-year-old NBA star, coming off his breakout season, would fly more than 8,000 miles and 24 hours, risk malaria, typhoid and yellow fever, just to hang bed nets in their mud huts for the anti-malaria program Nothing But Nets. On his vacation.

"Man, for a huge American sports star," said Nothing But Nets director Chris Helfrich, "he sure doesn't act like it."

For each 3-pointer he hit, he donated three bed nets ($10 each), and now he was actually putting them up.

Curry is used to being guarded tightly, but not usually by AK-47s. There are three Tanzanian police carrying them in the bed of the Toyota pickup truck ahead of us as we knuckleball down the red dirt road to the refugee camp. Curry is sandwiched between two bodyguards, the one the Tanzanian government sent and the one his agent sent.

When I founded Nothing But Nets in 2006, I begged for help from anybody, anywhere. But I never dreamed we'd get so much from a rising NBA star. I never thought we'd find one who would look up long enough from his Twitter feed and his Piguet watch to notice suffering, much less suffering 8,000 miles from the U.S. I couldn't have imagined we'd find a young man who would not only donate us nets, but actually come to Africa and hang them with us.

I recommend reading the entire thing, as I've basically highlighted the most important parts, but it's refreshing to see athletes like the role models we expect, albeit unfair as it seems. Too often there's Michael Beasley and Shabazz Muhammad knucklehead-styled news and not enough made about the great charity work done by the NBA. I don't profess to knowing Curry personally but anybody that goes out of their way in an offseason to help underprivileged kids in a place guarded by guns?

Seems like a great dude. And that's a damn understatement.

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