Barack Obama and Stephen Curry urged men from minorities to become role models for their communities by focusing on self-confidence, not looking for personal wealth.
Speaking in Oakland, California, at an event marking the fifth anniversary of the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, an organization that strives to fill the gaps of young men belonging to a minority, the duo presented in detail the challenges they faced as they grew up.
Regarding the social pressures common to the younger generations, Obama explained that self-confidence and respect for principles were essential to setting the example.
"We live in a culture where our value is measured by how much money we have and what reputation we are," he told the audience according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I'll tell you at the end of the day that the thing that will give you confidence is not that. I know a lot of rich people who are all messed up. "
The former president continued, "If you really have confidence in your financial situation, you probably will not wear an 8-kilo string around your neck.
"If you are very confident in your sexuality, you do not need to have eight women around you to twerk."
Obama and Curry have developed a strong friendship and regularly play golf together. While both are from minorities, the duo experienced very different situations.
The former president admitted that he had been "messed up of all kinds" during his high school years, which he partly blamed for having met his father once. Curry, meanwhile, said his father, former NBA player, Dell Curry, was a "constant presence" in adolescence.
He attributes the help of his parents as the reason he overcame his lack of self-confidence.
"The confidence to overcome this bump was a process," said Curry. "The swagger you see on the ground now, he has not always been there. It was a constant struggle. "
Obama echoed this idea, suggesting that his confidence had increased when he had changed his approach to life.
"I think I started growing up when I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about how I could be useful to other people." Obama said.
"What's amazing is that when you help someone and you see a positive impact on someone, it gives you confidence."
Obama also explained that the elimination of stereotypes was a crucial challenge for improving society.
"Some communities need more police, not fewer police," he said.
"Building trust, knowing who is who and just because someone wears a hoodie does not mean that he's a criminal, it's just the style."
Curry also addressed the issue, suggesting that he thinks the time has come for the NBA to stand up and serve as a social example to the next generation.
"A moment can make all the difference for a lifetime," said Curry, quoted in The Mercury News.
"For me, I can talk for my teammates and players in our league, now [there is a] the social responsibility we feel, to take a stand for what we believe in, to look after the next generation. "
Curry has already taken a stand on his beliefs. After the Golden State Warriors title triumph in 2017, he refused to accept President Donald Trump's invitation to visit the White House.
The gesture prompted Trump to cancel the invitation for the entire team, who instead chose to spend a day at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
The players were joined by youth from Seat Pleasant, Maryland's neighborhood home, to Kevin Durant.
Prior to last year's NBA Finals, Curry joined LeBron James in stating that neither the Warriors nor the Cleveland Cavaliers would go to the White House if they won the title.
Last month, during a trip to the capital, the triple NBA champion visited the former president before his match against the Washington Wizards.