Many people wouldn’t naturally think of the similarities between a ballerina and an NBA player. Yet the lifetime of training and the discipline it takes mentally, emotionally and physically are certainly shared attributes. Coincidentally, I took my first ballet class on a basketball court at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Growing up with a family of sports lovers, I was raised watching basketball stars reign not just on the court but also in our home and throughout pop culture.
Many of our sports heroes are sold to us based on their superhuman skill level. But every so often we get to experience one who combines these superior physical gifts with humility and grace while also letting us into his life to share the journey to greatness with him.
I’m in awe every time I see Stephen Curry play. He combines a never-before-seen skill set with the panache and flair of a great performance artist. These skills and an amazing sense of the moment allow him to fearlessly lead his record-setting team by simultaneously fitting in and standing out, allowing his teammates to thrive and willing them to victory time and again.
My definition of a role model is someone who maximizes their potential to push the boundaries of their circumstances with passion, purpose, integrity and the sensitivity to know they are setting an example for others along the way. Stephen Curry is a true role model. I can relate to his underdog story. He is showing us all how through belief in yourself, hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve your dreams, prove your doubters wrong and go from an underdog to a Warrior. Lucky for us, he’s just getting started.
Copeland is the first African-American principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre