Watching the reactions of children when they’re in the presence of Stephen Curry is absolutely priceless.
Their eyes become saucers. Their mouths fly open. A gaze of utter disbelief comes over their faces.
It happened again recently when the Golden State Warriors star and his wife, Ayesha, visited the East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA) for a segment on the NBC holiday special, “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways.”
“Is this real?!” a kid is heard asking.
“Are you really Steph Curry?” another wonders.
The Currys were on hand to surprise EOBA executive director Solomon Howard with a truck full of brand-new equipment for his boxing facility — along with a check for $50,000. As for the kids, they were given individual gift boxes containing plenty of swag from Under Armour, which has a sportswear endorsement deal with Steph Curry.
“Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways” is actually a three-night “holiday extravaganza” airing at 8 p.m. Dec. 10-12. It has Ellen DeGeneres, along with several of her celebrity pals, delivering some eye-popping gifts to deserving — and unsuspecting — people. In addition to the Currys, Ellen’s “helpers” include Michelle Obama, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr., Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan, Jason Momoa, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Teigen and others.
“This show is something incredibly special,” DeGeneres said in a statement released by NBC. “We took a little bit of what we do on my daytime show and we went a million times farther with it,” DeGeneres said. “I can’t wait for everyone to see what we give away and how we change lives. All I can say is get a hanky and get it now.”
The segment with the Currys begins with scenes of Steph behind the wheel — and Ayesha in the passenger seat — of a truck featuring the giant image of DeGeneres (in a Santa hat, of course). They’ve driving across the Bay Bridge into Oakland.
“It’s kind of fun to collaborate with people who are doing very similar work in the community,” Steph says to his wife.
When they arrive at the EOBA, the fun begins.
The EOBA after-school program was founded in 1987 by Oakland native and former professional boxer Stanley Garcia, who strongly believed that boxing kept him positively engaged and off the streets. Now, the organization serves about 90 students daily, and that number doubles over the summer to about 200 students a day.
In addition to boxing, the EOBA offers programs in cooking and nutrition, gardening, theater, arts & crafts and more.
“A lot of our students come from households that are kind of broken,” Solomon explains. “We do our best to make our environment as free from all of those outside experiences they may have.”