Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is known for being a top player on the basketball court. Off the court, the 30-year-old is coaching his own kids and adults alike using a simple yet powerful life lesson on how to be truly successful: "Be good, be great — but always be yourself."
The mantra was inspired by a session at his first all-girls basketball camp last August. There he helped equip 200 young athletes with the skills to play the game. He also exposed girls to women leaders in sports and business with advice to become trailblazers in their own careers.
During a panel, a 14-year-old asked a JPMorgan Chase executive how she'd cope with gender imbalance at work. The girl asked if the exec would change how she presented herself or communicated her ideas at a meeting with mostly men.
The exec shared her approach, one that Curry summarized simply as: "Be yourself. Be good, and try to be great — but always be yourself." He said hearing her answer and watching the girls nod in unison was "a powerful moment." He said it's a mantra that's inspired him to work more for women's equality.
This mantra, Curry says, is what will allow women to advance with their goals and careers. The words will also help men support their female counterparts, he noted in an open letter penned for Women's Equality Day on August 26.
"Every day — that's when we need to be working to close the pay gap in this country. Because every day is when the pay gap is affecting women, " Curry writes. "And every day is when the pay gap is sending the wrong message to women about who they are, and how they're valued, and what they can or cannot become."
As the husband of celebrity cook Ayesha Curry and father of their two daughters, 6 and 3, and their baby son Canon, Curry points out that "the idea of women's equality has become a little more personal" for him.
"I already know, just based on his gender alone, that Canon will probably have advantages in life that his sisters can only dream of. How do you make honest sense of that as a parent? What are the values, in this moment, to instill in a son?" Curry says.
The answer is as simple as repeating the mantra he taught to his basketball camp athletes and putting it into action with the smallest decisions in any day.
He says he'll teach his son to "always stay listening to women, to always stay believing in women, and — when it comes to anyone's expectations for women — to always stay challenging the idea of what's right."
"To be a true supporter of women's equality," says Curry, "it's not enough anymore to be learning about it. You have to be doing it."
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