A wish comes true: The boy behind Curry’s Twitter fan page meets his hero

By Ryan Lindsay

Vidal Paulino wakes up at 4 a.m. in his hotel in San Francisco. The 14-year-old boy from Germantown Hills, Illinois is here with his parents and brother Ishmael.

He is about to fulfill his dream of meeting Stephen Curry become a reality, so it’s only natural that he has trouble sleeping. His mother, Lucia, wakes up and watches basketball highlights with him to pass the time. Ishmael, still sleeping, can’t believe his little brother made it.

Paulino is the boy behind Steph Curry’s Twitter fan page, @GloballyCurry30, which has around 43,500 followers and counting. He started it in May 2016, just when he decided he wanted to meet Curry.

OK, so a 14-year-old Curry fanatic with an impressive Twitter following wants to meet Curry. Cool.

Except Vidal isn’t just any other 14-year-old. He has a congenital heart defect – his heart had to be moved to the right side of his chest. At times, this condition kept him in the hospital for months at a time. Once, a whole summer. Meanwhile, like many others, he was watching clips and highlights of Curry, his admiration growing. And that’s how he basically got to that “wish”.

In July 2016, Vidal emailed the Illinois Make-A-Wish Chapter to see if they could help him meet Curry. He also tweeted Marcus Thompson II, now of Athleticism then columnist for the Bay Area News Group, for help too. Thompson already knew Vidal’s story from an article on the Christian Hip-Hop Today website, where Vidal explained how he taught himself the skills he had seen time and time again while watching. Warriors highlights from spending a summer in the hospital, and how he made his school’s basketball team. And how he watched every Warriors playoff game. And how he prayed every day to meet Steph.

The Illinois Make-A-Wish Foundation responded the same day, then in August 2016 paid her the first of a few visits and arranged to meet Curry. So this wish has been years in the making. And Vidal kept it a secret until the March 21 meeting and he shared the news via his Twitter page that he had met Steph – and that Steph had followed him.

“All the work I put into the pages paid off because the person it was done for followed,” Vidal said.

That day, as Curry prepared to return from his ankle injury and just before he suffered the knee injury on March 23 that will keep him through to the playoffs, Vidal and Steph faced off in water bumper cars. Vidal was one of 30 Wish Kids who spent the day at Boomers! at Livermore. At the end of the day, they all received a new pair of white Curry 4s and a blue, black and yellow Curry backpack with a JBL speaker inside.

Vidal says he is attracted to Curry because of who he is.

“He’s not afraid to show his faith on the pitch and off the pitch,” Vidal said.

The Bible verse that is printed on each of the shoes Curry himself wears – an abbreviated version of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – resonates with Vidal. He told Steph that he was encouraged by this Bible verse every day. Curry told Vidal it’s a verse he lives by, attributing his strength in God as a main part of his success.

“This experience has given me more confidence that I can do whatever I think,” Vidal said. “Now I have a lot more confidence to do different things.”

(Top photo courtesy of Vidal Paulino)

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