WALNUT CREEK — Just like Steph, seventh-grader Amanda Kerner stood before a big crowd and knocked down shot after shot from five different spots on the court — 20 makes in 2½ minutes, complete with a buzzer-beater.
For one afternoon, Stephen Curry ensured that 200 girls in his camp had as real a chance as possible to try to be a little bit like him, down to the fancy dribbling work and competitive shooting drills he does daily alongside Kevin Durant throughout the season.
Curry went nuts for Kerner’s success.
Her summer? Absolutely made.
“It was the best thing in my life that ever happened,” the 12-year-old said, recalling her thrilling moment. “He was jumping around afterward. He seemed really excited. He slammed the ball on the floor. He’s the best shooter in the world and I want to be like him, so to see him supporting girls, it’s really cool.”
For the first time, Curry hosted just girls for a free, Warriors-run camp Monday and Tuesday at Walnut Creek’s Ultimate Fieldhouse. Last week at the same facility that he has also chosen in recent years, the Golden State star held his Under Armour “Stephen Curry Select Camp” with two of the nation’s top high school girls mixed right in with the best boys.
The two-time MVP and father of two young daughters has made it his mission to better support the girls game. He asked longtime Warriors camp director Jeff Addiego to plan an all-girls session this summer.
That gesture goes a long way with everyone Curry influences as he takes a giving approach off the court in the offseason. After two consecutive NBA titles and three in four years, Curry easily could be spending more time at home with newborn son, Canon, working on his own skills, or even improving his golf game.
“Anytime you have a guy of Steph’s notoriety, his caliber of play, everything that he has going, to take the time to do this and do it for all girls, it just speaks volumes,” said Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA star Jennifer Azzi, who coached at the University of San Francisco and is now the NBA’s global director of special initiatives.
“In my experience with the guys around the NBA, they’re very supportive of women, but for him to go the extra mile and do this, I think it means the world to young girls to see that caliber of NBA male is taking an interest in them. I think it’s really exciting, and really it’s not about gender. It’s about your passion for the game,” she said.
After Kerner’s remarkable shooting performance, Curry brought her up in front of the other campers to talk about the triumph and then signed a pair of his custom shoes for her on the spot. She had been camper of the week at a session two years ago in San Ramon, so Kerner received an invite to this camp based on past participation.
“It was special,” Curry said. “We had four girls go through the shooting drill. They had to make two in a row from five spots around the court and back. The first three girls, two of them made it to the top of the key on the way back but didn’t make it all the way around.