Transcendent athletes are the rarest birds. Blue-eyed golden doves, if you like.
Stephen Curry is one of the transcendent players of his era, and has recently been compared to another all-time NBA star who has reached levels never seen in his day. In a recent interview with ESPN, Kevin Garnett dropped a controversial quote as a disposable joke as he commented on Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins and his opportunity to play alongside Curry in Golden State.
“He plays with the Michael Jordan of his era”, Garnet said. “The knowledge he gets not only from Steve Kerr and the coaching staff, but also from that pedigree of excellence they drive there at Golden State – you can’t get in there. and be less than. They are samples in there. Those guys won together. They have been in the grit. They have been in the hole together. I think it motivates him ”.
Of course, whenever a player is compared to Jordan, it causes an immediate uproar in a specific sector of basketball fans. Many talking heads took the bait and rose up in arms for Garnett’s confrontation. Deadspin’s Rob Parker himself spoke on his radio show, The strange couple, along with Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio, saying it’s “ridiculous” that KG could say this about Curry, and not LeBron James. Whoa! If Rob Parker is defending LeBron James, the pigs have to fly over downtown Los Angeles
Now, let’s assume we’re talking about a direct comparison of Jordan and Curry’s apples as players, legacy versus legacy. If so, no, Curry is nowhere near Jordan, even at this stage in his career. But I didn’t take Garnett’s comment that way.
In the late 80’s and 90’s, Jordan revolutionized and changed the game of basketball on all levels. Everyone wanted to be like Mike, from the NBA to the playground. In the late 1990s, the league became more of a one-on-one isolation game. The game went from paint to over the edge, on all levels. That was Jordan’s influence. Only no one could do it like Mike. Kobe Bryant may have gotten closer, but he too wasn’t on MJ’s level. Before Jordan, it was thought that a big, high-impact man was needed to win championships. Jordan canceled that theory. The great Larry Bird once said, “It’s only God disguised as Michael Jordan.” That quote should sum up Jordan’s impact on the game.
Before Curry and the Warriors entered the championship picture in 2015, no one thought a team built on jump shooting could win a title. Golden State jumped that hurdle, led by Curry, and didn’t look back. Curry’s signature is throughout this era of NBA basketball in the same way that Jordan’s was for 30 years as the 3-point shooting skyrocketed, with some teams taking over 40 per game. Last season Utah led the league with 43 shots per game. Five years earlier, in 2015-16, the Warriors were leading the league with 31.5 3-point attempts per game. In the middle of this year, Minnesota are leading the league with an average of 41.7 attempts per game, followed by Utah with 41. At each level, players are shooting more three than ever. This is the Steph Curry effect.
So, no one is saying Curry is as good a player as Jordan, but they just point out how he changed the game in a way that not many have. Both boys have changed the way players approach the game at all levels. As exceptional as LeBron is, he didn’t do it on the pitch. Off the pitch there is another topic.
Surely this will not be the last of this topic, because how Curry continues to break records and potentially wins more titles, his name will be mentioned a little more often in conversations with Jordan. I’m not saying Curry is in the GOAT discussion, because he isn’t right now. But win a couple more titles and more prizes on top of that record that sets continuously, and before you know it, we could talk about Curry as one of the top five greats of all time. Do not sleep; it could happen.