NBA superstar Steph Curry said that his comments that man has never been to the moon have been blown way out of proportion. He also said that he would “one thousand percent” be taking NASA up on its invitation to tour the lunar lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"Obviously I was joking when I was talking on the podcast," the Golden State Warriors guard told ESPN. "I was silently protesting how stupid it was that people actually took that quote and made it law."
Curry made his assertion during a lighthearted interview on the "Winging It" podcast. He first asked fellow NBA players if “we ever been to the moon.” When they responded with a resounding “Nope,” Curry replied by saying: "They're going to come get us, I don't think so either.”
NASA soon responded to the comments in the best way possible: with a warm invitation to visit the lunar lab and examine the evidence for himself.
“I am definitely going to take [NASA] up on their offer,” Curry continued. “I am going to educate myself firsthand on everything that NASA has done and shine a light on their tremendous work over the years.”
I wrote yesterday about the emotional intelligence of NASA’s approach in responding to Curry. The fact that the NBA star has embraced the invitation is proof positive of the value of using positive emotions to promote rational thinking and reasoning--rather than putting a person on the defensive.
But in his response, Curry has gone on to teach some major EQ lessons of his own.
“Hopefully people understand that education is power, informing yourself is power,” Curry told ESPN. “For kids out there that hang on every word that we say, which is important, understand that you should not believe something just because somebody says it. You should do your homework and understand what you actually believe.”
There’s lots to love about Curry’s reply. Let’s break it down.
Why Curry’s response is so valuable
Curry could have easily double-downed on his assertion that the lunar landings are all a hoax. He certainly wouldn’t be the first person to make that claim.
But instead of allowing the emotions of embarrassment or frustration to dictate his reply, he stepped back and looked at the whole picture. He recognized NASA’s friendly invitation for what it was: an opportunity to educate himself.
Further, reminded of the tremendous influence he has on young people across the world, this time Curry encouraged them to do their own research, to become informed and think for themselves.
We may not all believe the moon landings never happened, but we all have misconceptions and are misinformed at times. And in a world where fake news reports spread faster than truth, it’s more difficult than ever to separate fact from fiction.
That’s why it’s so important to research important topics for yourself in a balanced an unbiased way, rather than just accept what others present to you as the truth. Following that advice is even more necessary when dealing with beliefs to which you’re emotionally attached--because emotions can cloud our judgment, causing us to see only what we want to see.
So, kudos to both NASA and Curry for helping to inspire learning and growth.
It’s emotional intelligence for the win.
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A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.