Season three of Stephen Curry’s UNDERRATED Tour Powered by Rakuten makes its final stop at Oakland’s Soldiertown indoor basketball court on April 1-3. The three-day, invite-only event is the culmination of a nationwide search for underrepresented and overlooked high school basketball talent, bringing together tour finalists to compete in tournament-style games where one boy and one girl will be crowned the country’s most UNDERRATED athlete representing their region. Student-athletes participate in tournament-style games and receive specialized training, bespoke experiences, and best-in-class resources such as exercises, off-court education, personal skills development, expert panels, and more during the UNDERRATED Tour Championship Stop.
“I created the UNDERRATED brand to inspire anyone who feels overlooked in their craft, to keep pushing,” said Stephen Curry to exclusively to The SOURCE. “I am committed to providing opportunities for players who find themselves in the very same position I was a few years ago. Before my college and NBA days, I was labeled by many in the industry as a 3-star athlete. The UNDERRATED Championships Tournament is for all the athletes out there who can relate to being put in a box and playing in the shadows on the court. For me, it is inspiring to watch these players who love to hoop, just like I did at their age, compete in Oakland and have the opportunity to break the stereotypes of the sport.”
The UNDERRATED Tour gives young athletes a significant platform to be seen by college recruiters, sports agents, and other critical industry experts. This exposure allows three-star high school players who are generally overlooked a better chance to develop into college-level scholarship athletes and embody the UNDERRATED mindset.
The UNDERRATED Tour visited four cities in the summer of 2021 (Washington, D.C., Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles), where 75 boys and girls were allowed to study and break through the noise. For the Championship, the top 64 competitors (16 from each location) were flown to the Bay Area.
Of those young athletes is Jacobi Sebock, a resident of Oklahoma who has overcome numerous health issues that displaced him from the basketball court. Jacobi was born without sweat glands and had severe asthma, a grade one heart blockage, and Crohn’s disease. Jacobi overcame those hurdles, securing playing time on his AAU team and exhibiting his skills. Kudos to his coach, who decided Jacobi’s issues should not hinder what he can do on the court. Jacobi will now compete at the UNDERRATED Championship.
An additional story includes Tiana, who moved past verbally abusive coaches and staff at her high school that often belittled her on-court performance. The criticism led Tiana to transfer to Victory Christian Academy, despite leading every statistical category. Tiana exhibited selflessness as she missed out on recruiting opportunities. Ineligible to play her senior year, Tiana played as a scout player and kept her teammates ready for the forthcoming season.
Rakuten introduced two $20,000 scholarships to the program this year for Championship-bound athletes, which can be put toward any college, institution, or trade school. Players can submit essays outlining their underappreciated narrative and its impact on their lives, which will be judged by a jury of sports and industry experts. Scholarships will be awarded to two lucky candidates, one boy, and one girl, who will be announced at the UNDERRATED Tour Championship Stop in Oakland.
“We are inspired by the optimism and spirit of The UNDERRATED Tour athletes, and we are incredibly proud to partner with Stephen Curry on this program,” said Amit Patel, CEO of Rakuten Americas and Rakuten Rewards. “We are honored to support a program that aims to empower underrated and underrepresented communities. Congratulations to all the athletes competing at this year’s Championship Stop.”
The UNDERRATED Tour is the culmination of Stephen’s inspirational journey to the top. He defies the odds and shatters basketball stereotypes by reminding people that being the best is about being grounded in your potential, committed to your trade, and, ultimately, undeterred. The objective of helping undervalued and underrepresented people around the world remains unwavering.
For more information and the latest updates on The UNDERRATED Tour Powered by Rakuten, please visit www.stayunderrated.com.
Article written by Shawn Grant #TheSource