President Barack Obama has been giving back to the nation’s communities ever since before he left public office. That includes advising a number of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Perhaps more importantly, he has been easing the country’s young people into their jobs as leaders of the future. He recently joined Stephen Curry at a youth town hall in Oakland, California.
Curry won the NBA Championship three times with the Golden State Warriors basketball team. He is also a six-time NBA All-Star, and was NBA Most Valuable Player twice.
The event was about how it was to be a young minority man in the U.S.A. The two men talked about being male role models, self-confidence, school discipline music, policing black communities, and manhood.
Obama only met his father one time and said he was “all kinds of screwed up in high school” without a sense of purpose. He did have a loving mother and grandparents, though:
‘I think I started to grow up when I stopped thinking about myself, and I started thinking about how I can be useful to other people. The amazing thing is, when you help somebody and you see that positive impact on somebody, that gives you confidence.’
The president started his foundation My Bothers’ Keeper Alliance following the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, when Obama said “That could have been me.” He shares his success of the Alliance with Curry, who did a PSA for the group in 2016 and wore special Under Armour shoes in an Alliance fundraiser.
Curry asked Obama to come speak about their own childhood struggles to the group of young men in Oakland, There were also two rows of black teenagers flown in from all over the country.
President Obama said, that he had to say to minority boys “You matter,” according The San Francisco Chronicle:
‘We had to be able to say to (minority boys), “You matter, we care about you, we believe in you and we are going to make sure that you have the opportunities and chances to move forward just like everybody else.”‘
Obama and Curry are golfing buddies, but they also have also been good friends away from the greens, sharing a passion for sports and civic service for the past five years. Curry is an ambassador for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. It has helped young minority men succeed by producing over 50,000 mentors.
Before President Obama left office in April 2016, the two men starred in a light-hearted video The Mentorship for the Alliance. In it, not only did the president help Curry with his resume, he “beat” him at a quick game of basketball and “helped” the basketball star with his form.
One of the young men asked the 44th president how he overcame his hard times. Obama turned to the Warriors’ guard and said, referring to Curry’s well-known physical issue:
‘Steph, why don’t you tell them about your ankles?’
Curry said his parents’ support was what helped him reach peak performance, “It was a constant struggle:”
‘The confidence to kind of get over that hump was a process. The swagger that you see on the court right now, it wasn’t always there. It was a constant struggle.’
Obama had a good time with the crowd, too:
‘If you are really confident about your financial situation, you’re probably not going to be wearing an 8-pound chain around your neck. If you’re very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking.’
Curry end the event with words of hope:
‘I hope you all learned as much as I did today.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.