MIAMI -- Stephen Curry's pregame routine had a special addition Wednesday, one that gave a 4-year-old boy an unforgettable thrill.
The Golden State star and reigning NBA MVP spent some time with Shawn Kennedy from Niagara Falls, New York and his family, doing so about an hour before the Warriors would play the Miami Heat.
Curry gave the boy the sneakers he wore to warm up –- “Keep being brave,” Curry wrote –- and even took Shawn and his brother into the Warriors’ locker room so they could meet some other players.
Shawn has a rare brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. A longtime friend of Warriors coach Steve Kerr heard about the family’s situation, and plans were quickly made for Curry to meet the young fan.
So when Curry left the floor after his shooting session about an hour before the game, he and Shawn got to meet and talk some ball.
“I didn’t expect anything like this,” said Nicole Vathy, Shawn’s mother. “He’s going to go home and talk about this all day. He really is. He’s not going to stop talking about it.”
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Curry spent about 15 minutes with Shawn and his family, and Kerr came out to meet them as well.
“I just read a couple months ago that Shawn’s idol was Steph Curry,” said Mike Esposito, a Niagara Falls resident who has a long relationship with Kerr through basketball and helped pull the trip to Miami together. “I emailed Steve and within an hour, half-an-hour, he emailed back and said `We’ve got you.”‘
Shawn’s condition is getting somewhat better over time, his mother said, and the boy is scheduled for more tests at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in April to further evaluate his progress.
“For him to do this for us,” Vathy said, “is unbelievable.”