One of the surprises of this year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) season is the blossoming of Stephen Curry into the league’s premier player and perhaps making the Golden State Warriors the best professional basketball team on the planet. The 27-year-old was voted the NBA’s most valuable player in his sixth season in the league. Night after night he puts on a spectacular show of his uncanny ability to put a basketball any place he wants, particularly in the hoop from long distances. The NBA could not have divined a better matchup for their championship series than the meeting of two of their premier players—Curry and LeBron James who were both born coincidentally in Akron, Ohio. Basketball fans are salivating at the prospects of seeing these two go head to head.
Yet for all the attention Stephen Curry has received during his breakout year, recently he has been overshadowed in the media by little Riley Curry, Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s two-year-old daughter who has captivated the media with her antics during her dad’s post-game press conferences. Her performances at these press conferences display an unusual sense of command. Like her dad’s uncanny ability to control a basketball, she seems to know exactly what to do to get the desired response from her audience. Stephen said about his daughter: “She’s way too comfortable.” If she keeps this up, the NBA will demand that Stephen bring her to all his media events.
Seeing Riley Curry do her thing on television should bring a smile to all of us. This is what being the child of a famous father should be about—having fun and enjoying life. Precocious children have captured the hearts of the American public going all the way back to Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and the Little Rascals. These are moments to treasure and enjoy because they are rare. Few, if any, children of famous people display the Riley Curry’s telegenic gifts.
It reminds us, however, that who our parents are does matter. Riley Curry hit the jackpot being born to Stephen and Ayesha. Just like Stephen did being born to Dell and Sonya Curry. Dell Curry played in the NBA for 16 seasons—10 with the Charlotte Hornets. He was able to maintain his career for so long because of his ability to hit the three-point jump shot. Dell Curry was celebrated for his deadly sharpshooting ability, finishing his career with a 40 percent season average. That Stephen mirrors that ability means he keenly observed his dad and emulated the techniques that made him great.
Children are born into this world in a broad range of circumstances. If they are lucky, they have at least one parent. If not, many have difficult lives navigating the foster care experience. Research tells us the most fortunate kids are those who are born into two-parent families and even in that case wealth matters. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 16 million children—22 percent—live below the poverty threshold. A report from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality states that as of mid-2011, 3.5 million American children were living in extreme poverty (below half of the poverty threshold) living off $2 per day per household member in a given month. After accounting for means-tested aid, about 1.17 million children are still left behind. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reported deep poverty for children worsened in the decade after welfare reform—a policy that was hailed for lifting children out of poverty.
During this conservative age of personal responsibility, we have forgotten that personal responsibility does not begin at birth. Parents have responsibility but when they fail or are unable to meet the needs of children, why do we hold kids accountable for their failures? How does the state prosecute a kid who grew up neglected in a drug-infested environment as an adult? Our social contract should ensure the most children possible have a reasonable opportunity for success. That requires adequate support from the federal government. Yet the Urban Institute’s Kids’ Share project reports federal expenditure on children in 2013 was $464 billion down from its peak of $499 billion in 2010.
I have a problem with conservative ideology. I understand the logic of potential dependency on social assistance. What confuses me is the right’s fanatical obsession with abortion and unwillingness to care for children born into adverse circumstances. I am looking forward to seeing more of Stephen Curry (although my money’s on the other guy from Akron) and little Riley Curry. Yet, when I see Riley, I will be thinking about the many thousands who could be in her place if only they could choose their parents.
The post Stephen Curry’s Little Girl appeared first on Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.
Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr., Ph.D
Stephen Curry’s Little Girl was originally published @ Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy » Charles Lewis and has been syndicated with permission.