Steph Curry, Bruce Lee Foundation Create Custom Shoes to Support Asian Community

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2021

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry smiles while looking back during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will wear a custom pair of his Under Armour shoes for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks that depict martial arts legend Bruce Lee in a statement against Asian hate in the United States.

Nick DePaula @NickDePaula

EXCLUSIVE: @StephenCurry30 plans to show solidarity with Asian community in Atlanta today with custom sneakers. In tandem with the @BruceLee Foundation, Curry will auction off his shoes to aid families of recent Atlanta shooting tragedy. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/jHEkMawa9D

Curry told Nick DePaula of The Undefeated he worked with the Brue Lee Foundation to create the shoes after the March 16 shootings at three Atlanta-area spas killed eight people, including six Asian women.  

"Disgust, horror and outright anger at why any violence keeps happening in our country," Curry said. "After all we have been through this past year, let alone in the history of our country, people still deal with unnecessary tragedy and are afraid for their lives. We have to do better."

Nick DePaula @NickDePaula

Curry’s shoes feature a @BruceLee quote: “Under the heavens, there is but one family.” “We are all different & unique. On purpose. But, we are all human beings on a quest to fulfill our purpose and that energy should be used to uplift & love each other to the fullest,” he said. https://t.co/GcQK4mLKKi https://t.co/SLCRrTJgGB

Anti-Asian hate crimes have seen a massive spike in the last year. Racial tensions stoked by the COVID-19 pandemic, including by former President Donald Trump, have been cited as an overarching reason behind the increase in discrimination against the Asian community. The COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, China; many conservative politicians, including Trump, used their platforms to give the virus nicknames that stoked anti-Asian rhetoric.

Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jeremy Lin, who is Chinese American, revealed in February that a player in the G League called him "coronavirus" on the court. The NBA launched an investigation and handled the matter internally last month, as requested by Lin.

Curry, who has made social justice initiatives a large part of his endorsement deal with Under Armour, said he has felt the support of the Asian community throughout his NBA career and wanted to lend his platform to creating a conversation and sparking change amid the increased violence. 

“I think Stephen’s gesture is a beautiful example of allyship and solidarity in action,” said Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter and CEO of the Bruce Lee Family Companies. “I am honored he would choose my father and my family as the symbol for the idea that we are all one family, as my father said, and therefore must all stand for one another.”

Bruce Lee, who died in 1972 at age 33, was a champion of civil rights who used his martial arts expertise to train people in communities that were vulnerable to hate. He is widely credited in increasing the visibility of Asian actors in American cinema and changing their portrayal. Before Lee, Asians were often portrayed as caricatures or limited to minor roles.

Lee has remained an international icon in the nearly 50 years since his passing due to his action-movie prowess and work in the community during his brief life.