Stephen Curry’s elite high school camp highlights gender equity

Two weeks ago, it was hosting the ESPYs.

Last week, it was taking more than 1,000 Oakland kids to an Oakland Athletics game.

This week? The Golden State Warriors’ guard is hosting his Curry Camp, at the downtown San Francisco Olympic Club. And, for the first time, his campers are evenly split: 13 boys and 13 girls.

“We’re just trying to normalize that basketball is basketball, and celebrate the game,” Curry said Thursday. “My hope is to give the girls coming through the ranks something potentially to look forward to, being part of this experience and having access to me and our squad and what we do.

“And, also, for the boys, to give them the perspective that it’s not just them hooping. Girls can do this, too. And they should encourage, celebrate it and support it. And hopefully that carries throughout their careers as well.”

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry works with kids during Curry Camp at the San Francisco Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Provided by Under Armour/Provided by Under Armour

Curry, a “girl dad” of both Riley, 10, and Ryan, 7, is an impassioned advocate of gender equity. He was one of the first NBA players to include girls with boys at a select camp, starting in 2018. This is the third year he has done so (he didn’t hold his camp the past two years because of the pandemic). A few years ago, when a young fan wrote to him to express disappointment that Under Armor didn’t carry his signature sneaker in girls’ sizes, Curry made sure that his shoe sponsor did just that.

Curry has changed the game of basketball. And in many ways, he has made the game more open to girls.

“The way I play the game is relatable for the women’s game,” he said. “My skill set can be copied. It’s not about playing above the rim. Everything I do, I feel they can work at and emulate. The skill work we teach both the boys and girls, at the same time, is something they can take back home when camp is over.”

Being included in the camp can be a life-changing experience. Just ask Azzi Fudd, who — along with Stanford’s Cameron Brink — was one of the first girls at the camp back in 2018. Now a national name after her freshman year at UConn, Fudd is coaching this week at Curry Camp.

“It was a really eye-opening experience,” Fudd said of being a Curry camper. “When I first walked in and got all my gear, my jaw dropped. All the guys were acting cool about it, and I was just trying to contain my excitement and my happiness just to be there.”

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry works with kids during Curry Camp at the San Francisco Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.  on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry works with kids during Curry Camp at the San Francisco Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Provided by Under Armour/Provided by Under Armour

Fudd remembers chatting with Jalen Green, a fellow camper, who opted for the G League Ignite out of high school and now plays for the Houston Rockets.

“I asked him, ‘So are all the camps you guys to go like this? This is normal for you?’” Fudd said. “And he was like, ‘Yeah, what do you mean?’ I had never gotten anything like all this gear ever before. It was eye-opening to see the treatment the guys got. It was also amazing to be at such a high-level camp, to have such great coaches. Steph was doing the drills with us. My respect for him just went through the roof.”

Two years later, equity in basketball became a national story when Stanford trainer Ali Kershner shared a photo on social media that showed the stark differences in the workout facilities between the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments being held in separate pandemic bubbles. Oregon player Sedona Prince amplified the photo on her TikTok, causing outrage.

Curry wasn’t surprised by what he saw.

“Going back to my AAU team, I’ve seen the funding the girls have versus the boys and how the whole system operates around girls’ tournaments and boys’ tournaments,” he said. “The NCAA Tournament was like a state of the union on what was going on.”

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry works with kids during Curry Camp at the San Francisco Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.  on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry works with kids during Curry Camp at the San Francisco Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Provided by Under Armour/Provided by Under Armour

Curry said he hoped that the players who attend his camp will start to spread the word about their experience.

“And that starts to spread about what’s expected, across the board,” he said.

Curry doesn’t hand-pick the 26 athletes who are among the top recruits from the high school classes of 2023 and ’24, but he has input. He sponsors AAU teams in Charlotte, NC, and has a female and male camper from those teams. Some came through Under Armor camps, and others were recommended by scouts and coaches with whom Curry has worked. His coaches for the camp include his personal trainer Brandon Payne, former teammate Kent Bazemore and appearances by Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, Curry’s high school coach Shonn Brown and Curry’s college coach at Davidson, Bob McKillop.

On Thursday, Curry went through stretching exercises and drills with the campers before they split onto two courts. He also played some full court with them (why the kids didn’t always pass the ball to him is a mystery).

The three-day camp includes dinner at International Smoke, the restaurant Ayesha Curry founded with Michael Mina; a tour of Chase Center, and a night at Lucky Strike bowling alley. On the final night, campers will take a ferry to Tiburon and go to another Mina restaurant, Bungalow Kitchen.

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