Teacher: Steph Curry’s message hurts young athletes

June 4, 2015 / BasketballCoaching
Off the court, NBA MVP Steph Curry has been an inspirational figure to young athletes. But a California English teacher fears his message might be doing more harm than good.

Photo: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons

Matt Amaral posted this blog earlier this week, titled “Dear Steph Curry, Now That You Are MVP Please Don’t Come Visit My High School.” Curry has made a habit of speaking at high schools and other events, but Amaral feels his message isn’t based in reality. Only a fraction of high school athletes will ever go pro, and while Curry’s follow-your-dreams message is in good faith, Amaral believes he should instead encourage students to focus on academics.

Here is an excerpt from Amaral’s post:

Because by the time they are sixteen, boys in this country, if they have even a tiny, tiny chance of going pro, should already be on the radar of colleges and scouts. They should be the best player not just at their school but in their entire city. Probably their entire state. They should already be 6’3” and growing. You know this and I know this, but the kids who you will inspire with your presence will simply see you and think they too will be MVP one day, even though they don’t even play for our high school team. So instead of doing homework the night after your visit, they will grab their lopsided old ball and go play on the court with their little brother and shoot the ball badly, improbably thinking every time the ball actually does go in it means they are on their way to fame and fortune.

You see Steph, once you leave my school, the boys here are not going to run home and finish that essay, which is one thing they could do about their future that is in their control. Just like if Beyonce came here, the girls wouldn’t head back to their one bedroom apartments filled with two families and begin their science labs. When Beyonce tells them to make sure they pass Algebra, they look at her and ask “What for? Did Algebra help your voice?” Instead they will go home and look in the mirror and wish they were tanner and thicker and a better singer and dancer and they will cry into their mascara. Because that is what celebrity worship does, Steph, and we need these kids to do less of it rather than more. They are already very good at dreaming about being rich and famous, what we need them to do is get a little more realistic about what is in their control. We need less of an emphasis on sports and celebrity in high school, because it is hurting these kids too much as it is.

Agree with Amaral or not, it’s a thought-provoking piece that asks us to consider whether young athletes, or even non-athletes, should be exposed to the harsh reality that there are just some things they cannot do. We often subscribe to the follow-your-dreams cliché, but there’s certainly an argument to be made that it could have negative consequences.

Have thoughts on Amaral’s post? Leave them in the comments section below or send an email to [email protected].

2 thoughts on “Teacher: Steph Curry’s message hurts young athletes”

  1. As I read this blog post by Matt Amaral, I feel sorry for him and sad for the kids he teaches and have an impact on everyday. Is his message to kids really not to dream big? As a coach, I have a problem with that. We all know that every athlete is not going pro, but that should not stop them from dreaming big and seeing how far they can get. Strong athletics and strong academics go hand and hand. If the kid goes home and works on his jump shot or that girl goes home and cries her mascara down her face without doing his/her essay, then they will not begin to realize any parts of the dream and may not have had what it takes to make it to begin. Hard work, in the class and in the “dream” activity is what will propel these kids. If Steph Curry told the kids to go work on your jumper and nothing else, then I would be inclined to agree with Amaral. However, being that Davidson is a very high academic school, he knows the value of education.

    I feel that Amaral, while wanting the best for the students, is off in his perspective and it is sad that he would want to keep students from a popular, successful, positive role model who worked hard to get to where he is and can relate to many of the kids who are not the biggest or the tallest or the strongest. Hard work, perseverance, attention to details and never letting anyone tell him what he could not do or be are qualities that Steph Curry can offer these kids that will serve them in athletics and what ever they decide to pursue in life. I feel sorry for Mr. Amaral that his life experiences have taught him that it is better to not try and therefore not fail at something he wants. I feel sad for his students that he might pass that on to even one of them.

  2. Ok so Steph do not come to my high school an tell your story keep your story to your self because none of the kids here are good enough to even hear your story does that sound as crazy when I say it as it does when this other guy wrote it? This is insane what is going on in America an I wonder if this guy wrote Steve Nash with same request.

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