OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is very much aware that he lives a life most people can't relate to. But he made it abundantly clear that it doesn't mean he can't be a voice for those people.
In an interview with ESPN, the two-time MVP said it's disturbing when his critics deem him unqualified for speaking out on social injustice because of his wealth and global stature.
Individuals who share that opinion visited Curry's social media platforms in large numbers to let their feelings be known following President Donald Trump's tweet "withdrawing" Curry and the Warriors' White House invitation.
"I've heard a lot of backlash from this whole thing last weekend about how much money we make and 'what are we complaining about?' and 'we're in a bubble, we don't have the same struggles and stresses of life [compared] to other people,'" Curry said. "And, obviously, I come from a privileged background with my dad playing in the NBA. I'm not denying that, but the majority of the NBA players come from the same backgrounds and socioeconomic situations that these criticisms are coming from.
"It gets lost. We have families. We've got people around us that are going through the same thing. How that all kind of takes shape is ridiculous to me -- trying to minimize what we're talking about because we have money. That doesn't make any difference to us. And hopefully with that money, we can do a lot of good with it. We still have family and people that we are connected to, that we feel what real life is like."
Curry is arguably the face of the NBA. According to NBA.com, he has the most popular jersey in the league. He's not overwhelmingly tall, and he doesn't have blazing speed or freakish athleticism, but he dominates the game in a manner that has never been done before.
Regardless of racial identity, Curry is as relatable to the masses as they come, which contributes to the robust adoration. The numerous posters, commercials, social media posts and prime-time games equate to ultimate exposure, and it all contributes to him now being a household name.
But despite his electric style of play and fame, he's not naive enough to think the injustice that he speaks against can't happen to him or a loved one.
"When we're not in between these lines and with a jersey on, in our casual dress or whatever, we could be targets," Curry told ESPN. "My guy Anthony Morrow went through a terrible situation in Georgia. Driving home from a workout in a nice car, a black dude dressed with a fitted hat backwards. Has a little bit of tint on his window and ends up getting searched on the side of the road for no good reason. Little things like that, you're affected by because it tells you no matter how well you play basketball and how much money you make, when you step foot off the floor, if people don't know who you are or your name, then you're subject to the same targeting as other people. That's what we're trying to change."
Unlike the kneeling of the national anthem movement initiated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, it appears the NBA players will be forced to adopt another form of peaceful protesting.
Commissioner Adam Silver weighed in Thursday, saying standing for the anthem is mandatory. On Friday, the league sent a memo to all 30 teams that "the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem."
"We have families. We've got people around us that are going through the same thing. How that all kind of takes shape is ridiculous to me -- trying to minimize what we're talking about because we have money. That doesn't make any difference to us. And hopefully with that money, we can do a lot of good with it."Stephen Curry
This week Curry said, "The NFL has taken a different approach, but it's about the message, not about the [kneeling] act. And for the life of me, if that doesn't just get across to everybody, it's not disrespecting anything about the flag or the anthem."
The Warriors' first preseason game is Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena. As of now, there doesn't appear to be any plans of protesting during the anthem ceremony.
"I haven't been made aware of anything," head coach Steve Kerr said Friday after practice. "If there were to be something, I would've heard. That's what we talk about as a group. We never do anything without the whole team discussing it. At this point, there's no plans."
Said center Zaza Pachulia: "I'm going to go through the same pregame routine I have done for years, unless something changes. We haven't talked as a team, but we'll see."
Whether the Warriors choose to protest or not, Curry said he won't relinquish his voice. Especially when it can lead to benefiting others.
"I have a platform, and I'm going to use it for the betterment of society," he told ESPN. "That's what we all should be trying to do."