In a letter to the Players Tribune entitled Underrated, Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry spoke about his time growing up and playing in the AAU circuit, and how that uphill experience shaped who he is as a player today.
In the piece Curry announced he’ll be starting, in partnership with Rakuten, “The Underrated Tour”, a basketball camp circuit for young players who might not get the national attention that most five-star recruits do. In fact, the camp is only open to high school players who are rated three stars or below. Curry himself was a three-star recruit coming out of high school
“You’ve got all of these camps out there, right? All these basketball camps, across the country, around the world. And it’s great, man. It’s special.” Curry writes. “Those camps are how a lot of NBA guys originally made names for themselves. And we should keep that going! But there’s another thing about these camps I’ve been thinking about. And it’s how, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that it’s the same, exclusive group of kids participating in them, over and over. It’s these same four or five-star recruits, players every scout already knows, going from city to city, camp to camp.”
Curry thinks there should be another way for young players to shine who maybe don’t get all the attention most blue-chip prospects get.
“What about the kids who, for one reason or another, because of one perceived shortcoming or another, are getting labeled as two or three-star recruits?” Curry writes. ” That’s the idea behind “The Underrated Tour”: to create a basketball camp, in partnership with Rakuten, for any unsigned high school players rated three stars and below. A camp for kids who love to hoop, and are looking for the chance to show scouts that their perceived weaknesses might actually be their secret strengths. A camp for anyone who just isn’t willing to let the rest of the world write their story.”
The two-time MVP hopes he can lend a message to athletes who are flying under the radar of major programs.
“That chip on my shoulder has never gone anywhere. If anything, it’s only become more and more a part of me… That’s one of the biggest things I’ve really come to understand about myself over the last 17 years: The way that underrated might start off as just some feeling the world imposes on you. But if you figure out how to harness it? It can become a feeling that you impose on the world.”
It’s always special when a superstar like Curry can remember their roots and help the next generation.