It’s Time to Give Superstar Steph Curry the Respect he Deserves

T Brewer, Staff Writer

Let me preface everything by saying this: I’m a huge Steph Curry fan. I can still remember watching his Davidson team in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where Curry won over fans as the “baby faced assassin” who drained 25-footers like they were layups and led the underdog Wildcats in their thrilling Elite Eight run. 

Going into the NBA, there were big questions around his small frame and durability. Early on, it seemed these concerns were legitimate. Curry, although exciting, endured multiple injuries to his ankles, and many thought that his size and style of play just might not fit into the NBA game. However, this all began to shift in the 2012-2013 season, Curry’s fourth in the NBA. That year, he played 78 games, averaged just under 23 points and hoisted up almost eight threes a game, an astonishing number at the time. 

That year, Curry was snubbed from the All-Star team, and critics were quick to point out that the Warriors style of play would never lead to championship success. By this point, Steph had found his perfect backcourt partner in Klay Thompson, a combination that was quickly dubbed “the splash bros.” Overnight, they became every kids’ favorite team. Nobody had ever shot the ball like they had. They had the ultimate green light and as soon as they stepped across half court you knew the ball had a good chance of going through the net. They became a champion for the people. A critically acclaimed, universally beloved team that was destined to follow in the footsteps of the ones before them (the seven seconds or less Suns, Run TMC Warriors, etc.), yet ultimately fall short of a championship.

We all have the luxury of knowledge now that we did not have back then. Nobody understood how Stephen Curry, a skinny, shoot first guard who was barely recruited out of high school would become the most influential basketball player of his generation. The Warriors proved to the endless line of doubters that they were good enough to be champions in 2015, Curry’s first MVP season. The next season, Curry put together one of the greatest individual seasons in the modern NBA. In averaging 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds, all while shooting 11 threes a game and bolstering shooting splits of 50/45/91 from the field, three-point line and free throw line respectively (ridiculous), Curry led his team to a record-breaking 73 regular season wins. If Draymond Green doesn’t get suspended for Game five of the NBA finals and a couple of more plays go the Warriors’ way, Golden State would have beaten Lebron’s Cavaliers for the second straight year and would have unquestionably been proclaimed the greatest team of all time. 

What happens next is well documented. Steph Curry decides to be the most unselfish superstar in NBA history and recruits Kevin Durant to the Warriors, a player who was probably a better overall offensive player than him and reduce the two-time defending MVP’s shot attempts. Of course, it didn’t matter, and Steph still proved to be one of the most valuable players in the league as the Warriors cruised to two more championships in 2017 and 2018. Everybody began to follow the lead of the Warriors. Shooting became a priority, three-point attempts have boomed and clunky, rim-protecting big men have become a thing of the past. In 2013, Roy Hibbert was seen as one of the most valuable players in a playoff series against LeBron simply because he was a big body that could cause havoc at the rim. Two years later, he was literally unemployable, as the Pacers (along with everybody else) were beginning to play a lineup that emphasized spacing and versatility to keep up with the gold standard that was the Warriors. The Roy Hibberts of the world should hate Steph Curry. 

Curry is now 32 and leading a Warriors team that finds themselves in an interesting rebuilding situation with a lot of questions. Will Klay come back and play in his old form after all his leg injuries? How many more years in Golden State does Draymond have left? Will James Wiseman develop into the game-changing big man people think he can be? Thankfully for Golden State, there is one player they will never have to worry about: Stephen Curry. So far this year, he has dragged a middling team to a record above .500 and a playoff spot. Yet again, he is averaging 30 points, shooting 44% from three and reminding everybody that he is still the most exciting, “oh my gosh I have to watch what he is going to do tonight,” player in the NBA. 

With all of this, I saw a top 10 MVP list for the season so far, and Steph Curry was not on it. I get that he has already won two, and his team probably isn’t going to be good enough for him to win another one. But Paul George was on that list, and not Steph Curry. I repeat, Paul George. And that comes back to my whole point, that no matter what he does, Steph Curry will always be unbelievably and inexplicably disrespected. He literally changed the NBA in ways that no player, not Jordan, Magic, Kobe, Lebron or anybody else, has even come close to. The league looks like a different game than it did just 10 years ago, and that is because of Curry. I saw a clip the other day where Dwight Howard was openly talking about practicing his three-point shot. It isn’t like he changed it for the worse either. I dare you to come up with something that gets you more excited in an NBA game than when Curry gets hot and nails one of those step back 30 footers for his 10th three of the game. Even if you don’t want to admit it, I don’t think you could. So, even if you don’t want to, turn on a Warriors game sometime, and watch the guy who changed the game of basketball, before it’s too late.