From leading the Golden State Warriors to two NBA championships to breaking the record as the best three-point shooter in the sport’s history, Steph Curry certainly has an impressive list of accolades that have earned him adoration on and off the court.
As an outspoken Christian who puts his faith in Jesus far above his career accomplishments, Curry has become a rare role model for a generation marked by immorality and celebrity scandal. It’s certainly not often that we see such world-class talent paired with a humility that redirects the spotlight to God.
So it’s no surprise that his out-of-character outburst in Saturday’s game left a bad taste in the mouth of fans, particularly Christian supporters.
In the last minute of their game against the Grizzlies, a frustrated Curry threw his mouthguard in the direction of the ref who failed to call a foul, earning him a swift kick out of the game. Needless to say, a social media uproar soon followed.
Disappointed in his actions, Curry took to Twitter to admit fault saying, “No excuse for that! Gotta remember who I am playing for…”
The sharpshooter further clarified in a post-game interview that his intent was never to actually hit the ref: “If I was trying to throw at him or hit him, I would’ve been able to execute that.”
But nonetheless, he was ashamed of his poor sportsmanship and uncontrolled anger.
“My frustration boiled over, I did something stupid and deserved to get kicked out,” he added. “I’ll obviously learn from it and try not to do it again.”
Regardless of Curry’s remorse, the damage had already been done in the eyes of many disgruntled fans, who were quick to slam the NBA star for his distasteful conduct despite him owning up to his mistake.
“You’re not a very good role model getting ejected,” wrote one Twitter user in response to Curry’s social media confession.
“How am I supposed to explain to my son that his favorite basketball player got ejected tonight unreal,” tweeted another disappointed father. “This was very traumatizing to him.”
The cry running rampant across the Internet has seemed to be “What kind of Christian is HE?”
Ironically, it is such harsh judgment of others that has earned so many self-righteous Christ followers that same title.
Have we forgotten what the Bible proclaims in Romans 3:10?
“There is no one righteous, not even one.”
Or Romans 3:23?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Apart from the grace of God that has so generously bestowed upon us, none of us meet the standard of godliness that we like to proudly proclaim from our social media soapboxes as we judge people whose lives are broadcast on national television.
Are our heated moments of throwing the LEGO we’ve stepped on 10 times when we’re frustrated at the kids so much different? Or whipping the dish towel on the floor at our husband’s unwillingness to help dry as he flips through Monday night football?
Dare I say we’re in the same boat as Curry, but without a mouthguard and with a few million less viewers?
My point here is certainly not to cast a stone at the stone-casters, as then we enter a whole new sick cycle of hypocrisy. But I would like to shine a light on the fact that the foundation of Christianity is “not perfection, but forgiveness,” as wisely stated by author Brian Smith, who paints a picture of how Curry’s actions intertwine with our faith with vivid accuracy:
“In a culture where Christian athletes are often celebrated for appearing morally excellent—and rightfully so!—I applaud Curry for giving us a picture of what Christianity is actually about: Falling short, repenting, and moving forward with a clean slate.
I stand with Curry as a Christian. Not perfect by any means—just forgiven.”
Now that’s a brand of Christianity that we can all get on board with. Well done, Curry—for showing us not how to live in moral perfection, but rather, how to walk in His perfect grace.