Michael Bennett is hosting his fourth annual camp, free of charge, in Oahu this Saturday, and it will feature fellow NFL’ers O’Brien Schofield and Manti Te’o. Bennett moved to Hawaii after marrying his wife Pele, who is from Oahu, and feels a deep connection with the land and culture.
And so it is that Bennett criticized Stephen Curry, who, along with the Warriors, hosted a four-day basketball camp costing $2,250 this past weekend. Via KHON:
"“I see a lot of different athletes come through Hawaii whether it’s Steph Curry or whoever it is,” Bennett quipped. “They all come here and it makes me mad, because I live in this community and I understand this community — that there’s so many kids who can’t afford to pay such a high amount of money. In my mind it’s like, how much money do you need before you start giving back for free? And I think a lot of athletes should start focusing on that.” […] “If you do have a camp and you charge money for it, you need to make sure that money that you take from this community, you give back to the kids that are paying for the camp. These are the kids that live here. When you leave Hawaii and you go back to wherever you’re at, or you come here and you go back from this vacation you leave with a piece of paradise, but these people still live here every day.”"
As Brett Smiley pointed out at Fox Sports, it is presumable that Curry was not managing the camp to the extent that he set the price. Nevertheless, it’s also presumable that if he were so inclined he could have some influence there.
These are tough things to reconcile – there’s a level of engagement that you can only provide to X number of kids. Setting a price point that high – especially if you add in airfare – can exclude all but the most fortunate children. It can also look like profiteering.
This issue has come up a couple times recently – Moses Malone Jr. publicly criticized James Harden for charging $249 for his Houston camp, and insinuated that the Rockets superstar sent his entourage to beat and rob him in an act of revenge for it.
With Curry, it’s hard to place blame on him here; he does reportedly support plenty of charities. It will be interesting to see what he and the Warriors do with the camp next year at this time.