Following a January screening of “Emanuel,” a documentary about the deadly 2015 shooting of nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, S.C., a throng of Howard University students jockeyed for handshakes and selfies with the film’s executive producer, NBA star Stephen Curry.
Otis Ferguson, then a junior at Howard, hung back for a moment before catching the ear of the Golden State Warriors guard.
“Hey Steph!” Ferguson called out. “Let’s get in a round of golf before you leave.”
It was a well-calculated shot: In addition to being a three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP and perhaps the best shooter ever, Curry is a passionate golfer.
Ferguson didn’t hit the links with Curry, but they did engage in a brief conversation about their mutual love of the sport. In fact, Ferguson said, he had turned down an offer to play collegiately to attend Howard, which, like many historically black colleges and universities, doesn’t have a golf team.
That chat made such an impression on Curry that he returned to Washington on Monday to announce that he is sponsoring the creation of men’s and women’s golf teams at Howard — bringing competitive golf to the university for the first time in decades.
“To hear somebody as passionate about the game as I was, all the while still pursuing their education at Howard … impacted me,” Curry said in an interview Saturday.
At Monday’s announcement, he set expectations high.
“This is going to go way beyond the game of golf, way beyond Howard,” Curry said. “This is huge.”
The cost of a collegiate golf program, including both operating expenses and scholarships, can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. While declining to reveal the exact amount, Curry’s team said he will make a seven-figure donation paid out over the next six years, aimed at giving Howard time to raise an endowed fund that would make the program self-sustainable.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Wesley Lowery and Candace Buckner