MIAMI (AP) — Stephen Curry would ordinarily be getting off his feet as fast as possible after a morning shootaround practice, saving his legs for the looming game that night.
Wednesday, however, wasn’t ordinary.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr invited some students – including ones from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the school in Parkland where 17 students and staff were killed in a massacre on Feb. 14, 2018 – into the Warriors’ game-morning practice in Miami. And long after the session was over, Curry was throwing alley-oop lobs and engaging in 3-point contests with kids who couldn’t believe they were hanging out with stars from the two-time defending NBA champions.
“You hate that you have these opportunities because of what happened at our school,” said Jeff Foster, a teacher and former coach at Stoneman Douglas. “But at the same time, it’s nice to have these contacts and meet people and coach Kerr has been at a few of the events with our kids … you’re always glad to sit around and talk to him, whether it’s about basketball or politics. And we just spent time doing both.”
While Kerr was chatting with teachers, some of the boys and girls got onto the court with the Warriors. Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Durant and Curry were among those who stuck around after shootaround for about an extra half-hour, posing for photos and talking about basketball.
“It’s special having them here,” Curry said as he watched the kids playing on the same court where the Warriors would visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. “They’ve done so much in the wake of the shooting, speaking out, using their platform that they have, the entire student body. They come to just have fun, enjoy themselves. I know that means a lot.”
Matt Fisher won’t forget it anytime soon.
Fisher is among the captains of Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ boys team, which lost its district championship game in quadruple-overtime and then fell in the first round of the state tournament. He plans to play college basketball at Division III’s Washington University in St. Louis next season, but if that doesn’t work out at least he can say he caught a lob from Curry for a dunk.
“This is just a surreal opportunity that I really appreciate,” said Fisher, who talked Curry into having a 3-point contest against him. It was briefly tied at 1-1 before Curry prevailed.
Kerr invited the students into the practice, and makes no secret about his desire for gun reform. Kerr was 18 when his father Malcolm, then president of American University of Beirut, was murdered. He’s followed the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and their “March For Our Lives” organization’s efforts closely.
“The fortunate thing is the young people leading this drive are going to be much more impactful than old people like me,” Kerr said. “It’s true. Older people have been trying to do something but they haven’t made the impact. But the next generation, the country belongs to them. So I’m really proud of what they’re doing.”