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.


The Greatest


We often call players who leave a significant impact “great”, and we call the greatest of the greats “The G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Time). The players are legends, icons, extraordinary, almost invulnerable… we usually use them as the rubric to grade others by. These players set the bar of precedence. Only few players are even considered to enter “the conversation” and even at that point you will get heavily ridiculed. So what does it take to be considered the greatest, the best to ever do it, The G.O.A.T.??? What does it take to even be mentioned in “The Conversation”??? If you can’t even enter the debate, then you have been disqualified for the greatest throne.

How do you enter “The Conversation”? There has to be some guidelines right? (A sign that says “you have to be this tall” like at Six Flags or something).  Lets break it down!

Do these individuals have the stats? We all heard the phrase “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. For the most part that’s true, and that’s the part we’re going to focus on right now. These players has to put up numbers superior to their piers. They should have the ability to rank in the top 10 in multiple statistical categories.

Anybody can put up incredible numbers for a season or 2 but can they do it over the longevity of their careers? These individuals have to preform on a nightly basis. They have to average staggering numbers while playing at an elite level over several seasons.

How many times were these players named to the all star team and/or all pro? Awards like Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and even the team awards are vital. And of course winning championships are an important factor.

Clutch Factor
Can these players perform when it counts? They have to have the ability to close out games, make game saving plays, and make the impossible happen at times.

Hall Of Fame
When its all said and done, will these individuals be enshrined? These players have to be good enough to make it to Canton, Ohio, to Cooperstown, to “The Hall”.


So with those factors to consider, that will eliminate almost everybody. Once we get down to the smallest of smallest pools, we can only then enter them into “The Conversation”.

Once you enter “The Conversation”, it’s survival of the fittest. These are the likes of Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Pele, Wayne Gretzky,  Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Floyd Mayweather, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and the list goes on. So how do we separate the greatest from the greats? There are other factors, deeper factors, we will have to consider:


All great players can make plays that show up on the score box but what about the plays and the characteristics that you will remember? “The Catch” by Willie Mays, “The Drive” by John Elway, “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo by Michael Jordan, “The Rumble In The Jungle” with Muhammad Ali, are prime examples of what this category is all about. It was their willingness to win plus the enchanted moment that lives on forever. You can’t teach heart and a desire to win. Only some players have that gene inside of them.

Did these players change the way you play the game or the game itself? Were other players or teams have to alternate their game plans to try to deflect the greatness of one individual? Were the rules of a sport ever altered because of one’s dominance? This category will eliminate majority of the remaining  participants.

When these players still be remember generations from now? Could people from all over the world still remember who you are and your greatness 20 years after retirement? Are people owning their memorabilia?

Will everything they have ever achieved,  earned, accomplished, live on forever? Can something that has taken a whole career to build be demolished by any negativity? The legacy is a players ultimate portfolio, resume and transcript. ALL tangible and intangible factors are weighed and utilized to determine your rank amongst the field.

Only the strongest survive. Having debates over the greatest will forever live on. My plan wasn’t to pick the greatest but to give you all a template on how to pick one yourselves. With that being said, let the debates begin!!!