The People’s Champ

Not to be confused with former WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (even though that was my favorite wrestler growing up)

Who would’ve ever thought we would see a player like Stephen Curry in our generation? Think about it… the players in the NBA today compared to when I was a kid growing up are more athletic, but not as fundamentally sound, or have the overall IQ. Anthony Davis is a freak of nature but you don’t see the post game foot work like Kevin Garnett or banking in 15 footers like Tim Duncan (yet). James Harden took Manu Ginobili’s Euro Step to another level but the man can’t defend a parked car with a boot attached to the front left rim. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are once in a lifetime type of players. There’s no one with LeBron’s size and strength combination. There’s no one with Durant’s height, wingspan, and to be a pure shooter. Russell Westbrook’s athleticism attributes are not even comparable to any one (Derrick Rose before the injuries). Usually NBA Superstars have something or multiple abilities about them that you just can’t teach… that basically the average person doesn’t possess. Curry, on the other hand, is different.

Steph Curry doesn’t have the power and speed combination of LeBron. He doesn’t have the athletic makeup of Westbrook. He doesn’t have the height and wingspan of Durant. He’s not the fastest or strongest player at his position and definitely not the most explosive. What separates him is the fact that he’s a perfectionist with a legendary work ethic. His ability to exceed expectations and raise his game to new heights are due to the long hours of commitment that he has produced. I watched him at Davidson and became a fan during his junior year when his school made some noise in the middle of March Madness. Davidson ousted Gonzaga, dropped Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, and the rest of Georgetown, stomped Wisconsin, and was 2 points shy of reaching the Final Four after a loss to a deep Kansas team featuring Mario Chalmers. The man used to be double and triple teamed on a regular and was still scoring at will. He’s been doing this at every level. Scouts were saying that his game wouldn’t translate to the next level. They also said he wasn’t a true point guard. The fact that he’s doing whatever he wants in the NBA is beyond remarkable.

Another crucial point that needs to be made is that anybody can be just like him. The average person doesn’t have to jump the highest or run the fastest or become the strongest to have the same skill set of Stephen Curry. You’ve seen an abundance of kids practicing their ball handling or shooting all over social media because of what Curry can do. Mark Jackson said that Curry’s style of play is hurting the game… and I would have to disagree. Yes, Curry shoots a lot of 3’s in transitions but, those are good shots for him. And of course they teach you the opposite during basketball practice. The thing is when you’re that good of a shooter and you’re in rhythm, those are good shots. Also, the fact that he can freeze the defense and space the floor in transition is a bonus. Even with his high volume shots behind the arc, kids looking up to him are starting to become more fundamental, and watching the Golden State Warriors team in general are exposing them to selfless basketball (along with San Antonio).

The scary thing that I didn’t even mention yet is that Steph is getting better. Initially, ankle injuries delayed his growth in his first couple of seasons. However, once he was finally healthy, you started to see the birth of a superstar. He shattered the record for most 3 pointers in a season 3 years ago and has beaten his own record every year (currently on pace to beat it again). The Carolina protégé is on pace to have a higher scoring efficiency than Wilt Chamberlain and is scoring more points in the paint than Blake Griffin and LeBron James… Let that sink in… ESPN has ranked him the 4th best point guard of all time behind Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and John Stockton. Initially I thought it was too early to have him in the conversation but when you’re constantly watch him perform, it’s hard to overlook his greatness. I still don’t know how I feel about him ranked higher than Isaiah Thomas, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd (all 3 of them are above extraordinary), but all I can do is sit back and appreciate the baby face assassin take over the league. LeBron used to lead the league in all star votes, effortlessly, for the past decade. Now, Stephen Curry is trumping him and the separation between LeBron and whoever’s next isn’t wide. Eventually, you would have seen the transition of dethroning the king because of father time… and if it was to be this soon, nobody expected it to be the current reigning MVP… except the MVP himself.

Steph Curry is a special player and you shouldn’t take what we are witnessing for granted. A couple of years ago, he was just known for being a great shooter. Since then, he has won an MVP and a NBA Title, and is currently on pace to winning back to back MVPs (like Jordan 96,97) with the leagues best record. He has become a hero to the Bay Area and now is becoming a global icon. There’s not too many people who doesn’t discredits any of his accomplishments. The sky is truly the limit for him. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next from number 30… He still has a long career ahead of him, but in the present, he is the people’s champ.


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