From an overlooked and “undersized” 3-star recruit to a three-time NBA champion, two-time Kia NBA MVP Award winner, and five-time NBA All-Star, the rise of Stephen Curry is undoubtedly one of the greatest underdog stories in sports history.
For aspiring athletes — particularly those deemed undersized, unathletic or otherwise lacking in top-tier “potential” — Curry’s remarkable success is also a powerful source of inspiration, proof that through hard work, belief and a strong support system, anyone can accomplish big things.
Now, Curry is leveraging his experiences gained over a lifetime of exceeding expectations to help young, underdog athletes write their own tales of triumph against the odds.
In a story published today on The Players’ Tribune, Curry announced the Underrated Tour, a first-of-its-kind series of basketball camps designed to highlight underrated prep athletes looking to make it to the next level. Powered by Rakuten, Underrated Tour is available to unsigned high school players across the U.S. with a 3-star ranking* or below, giving overlooked athletes the opportunity to refine their skills, gain exposure and achieve a deeper understanding of the game.
“We’re putting kids — kids who love to hoop, and who should be out there exploring that love — in a situation where a bunch of limits are being placed on them by other people. A situation where the limits of what they can accomplish are being put in place before they’ve gotten to test those limits for themselves,” said Curry in The Players’ Tribune. “And so 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 high school kids who love to hoop, and are looking for the chance to show scouts that their perceived weaknesses might actually be their secret strengths. And most of all? A camp for anyone who just isn’t willing to let the rest of the world write their story.”
Athletes participating in the Underrated camps will receive best-in-class resources, tips and hands-on training from elite coaches including Curry’s trainer Brandon Payne. Instruction will include fundamental basketball skills, scrimmage games, dribbling, defensive techniques and, of course, shooting drills. Camps will also include lectures from special guests, team-building exercises and lessons on collegiate needs and NCAA eligibility.
The tour is powered by Rakuten, as part of a larger partnership between Curry and Rakuten. Curry will play a pivotal role in growing the Rakuten brand in the U.S. through appearances, brand marketing and other promotions.
“The global team at Rakuten is immensely excited to launch our partnership with Stephen Curry, one of the greatest players in the NBA today and one who has relentlessly pushed boundaries and turned established expectations on their head with his achievements,” said Rakuten founder and CEO Mickey Mikitani. “This new partnership between Curry and Rakuten is rooted in shared values and experiences: With remarkable track records of disruptive innovation, we continue to set the bar to even greater heights because we are passionate about empowering society and we believe in the future.”
“The underrated tour is Stephen’s brainchild, rooted in meaningful and authentic insights from his journey,” says Jeron Smith, Curry’s business partner. “We saw a unique opportunity to shine a light on Steph’s story in a way that hasn’t been done before and inspire the next generation of underrated athletes. This the latest example of Steph using his platform to make a difference and we’re thrilled to partner with Rakuten to help empower others.”
The tour tips off on January 19 in Los Angeles and will continue in cities around the country. The Underrated Tour stop in Phoenix is exclusively available to high school girls who want to take their game to the next level.
While not everyone can be Stephen Curry, with the right perspective, training and opportunities, there is no telling where the Underrated Tour can take its participants.
In the words of Curry himself: “Be the best version of yourself in anything you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story.”
* Top high school athletes are generally given a 4- or 5-star rating by recruiting services.
For more information on the Underrated Tour or to register online, please visit underratedtour.com and follow along on social using the hashtag #underratedtour.
2019 TOUR SCHEDULE:
January 19-20 – LOS ANGELES
January 26-27 – WASHINGTON D.C.
February 9-10 – PHOENIX (girls camp)
February 23-24 – CHARLOTTE
March 2-3 – PHILADELPHIA
March 16-17 – OKLAHOMA CITY
March 22-23 – OAKLAND