Steph Curry reminded us over the weekend that sports is just a game, trumped by things that happen in the world outside an arena.
What the sharpshooting Curry did Saturday night in Brooklyn had a bit to do with the 3-point contest he won during NBA All-Star Weekend. He used the event to pay respect to a man he had never met, a man whose name will slip people’s minds as February turns into March and as Spring Training games try to compete for attention with March Madness.
And Curry will still be raining jumpers for the Golden State Warriors as he tries to take them to the NBA’s promised land.
En route there, he will bring along with him the name of Deah Shaddy Barakat. Curry doesn’t have to do so. He can just forget Barakat, because people tend to forget the names of men like Barakat, one of three Muslims killed last week in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, by the business end of a madman’s gun.
Theirs was a harrowing death, a product of the hate that hate can produce. And in America, Muslims feel that hatred daily. Their religion remains a mystery to us; their lives remain one as well.
Instead of trying to see inside of their religion to find an understanding of it — if not necessarily an appreciation for it — we accept the mythology of Islam and not the truth of it.
Still, not a single Muslim in America deserved to be gunned down on the streets of a college town. When one is, we dare not forget that he is one of us, that he is part of the melting pot that defines this country.
And we are a country that remembers its dead. We remember the hundreds who died in the Twin Towers; we remember the thousands who died in senseless wars abroad; and we should remember the thousands, like Barakat, shot each year in our towns and in our big cities.
How do we forget some of them?
Curry, an NBA superstar with legit MVP credentials, showed we shouldn’t forget any of them.
"It only seemed right to honor [Barakat] and his family, and hopefully they know that people are thinking about them," Curry said after his uncanny display of accuracy. "They're not alone, and hopefully it can give them some kind of peace and comfort knowing that he was a special guy. And I just did my little part to shed light toward him."
Yes, his was a little part. The big part, of course, comes from the rest of us — from those right-minded Americans who detest such a hateful act and speak out against it.
We won’t speak out against the act, however; we’ll mostly keep silent, as if to pretend that this coldblooded craziness could not occur on U.S. soil.
Our silence won’t insulate us from evil like this forever. We will soon enough have to either condemn such dastardly acts or learn not to fret about them.
If we choose the latter, we enable those who embrace evil to become extremists, the kind of pitiless people whose actions we decry, the kind of people who will justify burning a man alive or cutting off a man’s head on live TV in the name of a religion.
In the name of religion, we can ask God to forgive us for not caring more about what led to Barakat’s murder. But most of all, we can remember the 23-year-old Barakat, as Steph Curry did, and hope nobody else — Muslim, Christian, Jew or atheist — is killed on our streets as he was.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Golden State Warriors via Instagram)