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sport / / BANG: Steph Curry isn’t running from a future in politics. What do experts think of his chances?

o BANG: Steph Curry isn’t running from a future in politics. What do experts thinkAllen

BANG: Steph Curry isn’t running from a future in politics. What do experts think of his chances?


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG:_Steph_Curry_isn’t_running_from_a_future_i
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2024 19:45:02 -0700
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 by: Allen - Thu, 21 Mar 2024 02:45 UTC

Steph Curry isn’t running from a future in politics. What do experts
think of his chances?
We polled three political science experts to learn about a hypothetical
Steph Curry campaign

>Steph greets runners with a high-five.
Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry and his wife Ayesha Curry lead
cheers for Oakland Marathon runners.(Desmond Gribben for Eat. Learn. Play.)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 20, 2024 at 11:42 a.m. | UPDATED: March 20, 2024 at
2:14 p.m.

When his playing days are over one day, Steph Curry could join a long
line of former athletes turned politicians.

Curry, who’s trying to will the Warriors to the playoffs in his 10th
All-Star season, didn’t rule out a future run for political office in a
sit-down interview with CBS last week.

“I have an interest in leveraging every part of my influence for good in
the way that I can, so if that’s the way to do it…” Curry said when
asked if he’s interested in politics.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a run for president, he said. And given
the 36-year-old is still among the best players in the NBA, any future
career in politics isn’t imminent.

But even the prospect of a future Curry campaign is nonetheless
noteworthy. As a high-profile athlete, Curry’s political aspirations are
far from unprecedented: Former Dodger Steve Garvey, the latest former
sports star to run for office, is currently campaigning for one of
California’s U.S. Senate seats.

Three political experts interviewed for this story had similar takeaways
to Curry’s interest in politics: He’d have a great foundation to build
from if he decided to run, there are blueprints for him to follow, and
it would be foolish to discount him at his word.

“I wouldn’t underestimate him,” said Dan Schnur, a political science
professor at USC and UC Berkeley. “Don’t underestimate the importance of
what he and his wife have already done. That’s the difference between a
basketball player who thinks it might be fun to be a politician and
someone who happens to play basketball and has a sincere commitment to
the community.”

Voters may not cast a ballot for him just because he’s Steph Curry; many
would want to know he’s serious about serving his constituency. Curry’s
history of civic engagement is a factor, Schnur said. He and his wife,
Ayesha, started the Eat.Learn.Play. Foundation, devoted to ending
childhood hunger, increasing access to quality education and encouraging
children to stay active in Oakland. As of 2022, Curry is a registered

Schnur worked on four Republican presidential and three gubernatorial
campaigns, earning a reputation as one of California’s leading political
strategists. The biggest strength Curry would have working for him is
his name recognition, Schnur said. The four-time NBA champion is a
global superstar from his basketball career, and running for office
would instantly shine a different spotlight on him.

But the challenge would be what to do with the attention.

“His basketball career gives him a window of opportunity to talk to
voters,” Schnur said. “Especially to people who usually aren’t into
politics. But the challenge is: How do you fill that (opportunity)?”

Which issues Curry chooses to platform are mostly unknown. But there are
some basic facts that hint at what Curry the candidate would stand for.

Curry endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020. He supported an election
reform bill aimed at expanding voting rights, and has a relationship
with former president Barack Obama. He’s also an outspoken man of faith
who has called Donald Trump a “threat,” and an author of two children’s
books with uplifting themes.

Curry’s opposition last year to a multifamily housing plan near their
Atherton home, which drew criticism from the left, would also be on his

The Warriors legend wouldn’t be the first athlete to enter the political
realm. This year, former NFL linebacker Colin Allred, already a U.S.
Representative, is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Garvey faces an
uphill battle against Adam Schiff, the incumbent Democrat senator in
California. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reportedly considered NFL quarterback
and former Cal star Aaron Rodgers to be on his presidential ticket.

Former NBA All-Stars have also done it before: Kevin Johnson served as
mayor of Sacramento. Dave Bing was Detroit’s mayor. Bill Bradley, an
All-Star in 1973, held a U.S. Senate seat for three terms and ran for
president in 2000.

Schnur shared a famous story of Bradley being hesitant to exploit his
NBA career in political ads, refusing to include his Knicks highlights.
He compromised by shooting a wad of paper into a wastebasket at the end
of one commercial, nodding to his basketball history but not hitting
voters over the head with it. Curry might have to similarly divorce from
his playing career in order to gain credibility.

But there’s a different analog that could be relevant for Curry.

“Look, here’s the story: If Steph’s really interested in this, he needs
to pay attention to the way Arnold did it,” said Stanford political
science professor Bruce Cain.

Schwarzenegger, the experts noted, dipped his toes into political waters
before running for governor of California. The bodybuilder and movie
star served as chairman of President George H.W. Bush’s Council on
Physical Fitness and Sports, a position he later held for Gov. Pete
Wilson. He also supported an after-school education program ballot measure.

Political consultant Rob Stutzman, who worked on Schwarzenegger’s recall
campaign and then as his deputy chief of staff, added that
Schwarzenegger surrounded himself with advisers like Warren Buffett and
George Shultz to ease the transition from the entertainment industry to

“There’s some things there that if (Curry) wanted to embark on the path
that Arnold took that he could learn from,” Stutzman said.

If there were a political fantasy draft among athletes, Curry would
probably be a top pick. He has a seemingly universally positive approval
rating among basketball fans, has avoided major controversy and has a
relatable, inspiring rise to prominence.

As Cain said, name recognition plus money is a “good start.” Curry’s
also a winner, an intangible attribute Stutzman said helps in politics.

“Curry is one of those megastar athletes that transcends their sport,”
Stutzman said. “He’s a recognizable cultural person and has a lot of
positivity attached to him. If it’s something he’s serious about, I
would think it’s plausible that he could have some success entering into

Kurtenbach Mailbag: Return Klay Thompson to the Warriors’ starting
lineup? Will the Niners trade Brandon Aiyuk?
Photos: Watch Steph and Ayesha Curry surprise Oakland Marathon runners
Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against Knicks
Warriors beat down at home by short-handed Knicks
How the end of Warriors-Lakers devolved into ‘bizarre’ mess

Curry’s heart is also, by all accounts, in the right place. Asked if he
was put on the spot by the question about his political ambitions in the
CBS interview, Curry doubled down. His answer was honest.

“I haven’t thought about it at all other than if the opportunity
presented itself,” Curry said last week. “I don’t know what the pipeline
is to even be in that position. But my answer was made because I have
the interest in leveraging my platform in the greatest way I know how.
To continue to do things that create opportunity, create meaningful
change for the people who need it.

“Whether that’s in politics or out of politics, whatever the right moves
are whenever basketball’s done, I’m going to do it.”

As Curry walked away from that media scrum, a reporter playfully asked
if he’d name head coach Steve Kerr as his running mate.

“Without question,” Curry quipped.

sport / / BANG: Steph Curry isn’t running from a future in politics. What do experts think of his chances?


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