One of the lasting images of these NBA playoffs, particularly if the Golden State Warriors go on to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, will be of Steph Curry’s toddler-aged daughter “toddlering” around as she sat with him in front of the press after his team’s Western Conference Finals Game 1 win over the Houston Rockets. As it were, daddy’s little girl couldn’t care less about the questions being lobbed Curry’s way and she acted with exactly the type pf playful dissidence that I absolutely adore in children.
All she knew was that it had been awhile since she had been able to hang out with her dad and no camera or microphone or 10-foot table nor its tablecloth was going to impose on their daddy-daughter time.
But, in reality, that entire press conference was an imposition to her. She finally gets to see her dad, but is expected to sit still and contain her joy in the moment. It’s not fair and it’s one of the reasons why kids shouldn’t be allowed at the podium.
Listen, I know the cuteness overload of these moments makes it hard to admit how inappropriate they are but, taken at their barest essence they are just that.
The postgame presser is no less a part of the player’s job than the pregame warm-ups or shooting free throws. We wouldn’t gush about how delightful it was to have kids present in those times and we would be decidedly less tolerant of anything that would dare to distract dad from the business at hand.
These days we have a very low opinion of the press in this country so I know, it’s hard to imagine how guilty the credentialed folks in that room must have felt for delaying Curry’s family reunion. For some members of the corps, it was likely a challenge to reconcile their desire for Steph’s attention with his daughter’s rightful claim of dibs times infinity to it….and that might be exactly the point.
For how little we think of the press, the narrative on the black father is even less flattering. So trust me when I say how happy I am to see black NBA players with outward showings of affection for their children. But, I’m not naive.
I worked in PR and marketing for many years and, it was often my responsibility to work with clients on gaining the upper hand with the media. I trained them to look for opportunities to take control of interviews and make sure every facet of the experience worked in their favor.
This is not to demonize Curry or any of his NBA brethren who, before him, have answered questions with a 3-year old sitting on their laps. I respect a good PR strategy, even one with the simple goal of making sure reporters feel uncomfortable asking tough questions. Or one even simpler, making sure reporters ask fewer questions because they feel the pressure to let you get back to your family.
Or one even simpler than that, getting a good photo op with your beautiful little girl.
I don’t mean to be cynical but, hey, somebody please trot out your awkward teenage son to one of these things so I know it’s real.
Ultimately though, I believe these moments are just what they appear to be, a loving father taking advantage of every minute possible in this not-long-enough experience we call life to spend with the ones he loves the most.
It just makes me a little sad, though, when children cannot meet the moment with unbridled enthusiasm, fielding gentle admonishments to settle down and be quiet while daddy fields question from the grown ups.
I once ran a 6 and a half-minute mile. So, there’s that.