It’s old news that his status among players is much lower than with the media and fans. For some reason, NBA players don’t think Steph Curry is all that special. They will mention the great team Steph had around him for all the Finals runs, the privilege of having an NBA dad, and that his lack of physicality makes him a liability on defense as proof that Curry is overrated.
All those excusesf spark jealousies, but what probably frustrated all those superstars is the fact Steph broke the mold to domination. He became the first unanimous MVP through skill, with an obvious limitation in size and strength. All other guys can lean on their physicality when the shot isn’t falling – they will bully their way to the basket when all else fails. Steph doesn’t have that safety net, and yet he owned the league. (to point out ulterior motives for the hate, a lot of plugged-in NBA reporters such as David Aldrige refer to Steph as the “light-skinned” dude)
Last season was supposed to have been the victory lap everyone who dislikes and underestimates Steph was waiting for. No KD, no Klay, Draymond on the decline, and a bunch of rookies and G-League guys. Curry was finally getting exposed; “he can’t carry a team like that, the way LeBron did in his career.” Well, a victory lap did happen. Curry played one of his best seasons and shut up all the haters. One other thing everyone’s underestimated about Steph – he takes things personally.
“I mean, there was a moment at the beginning of last year, before the Portland game and the 62 [points], that I heard a lot of noise and I heard a lot of talk about who I wasn’t and we were going to get exposed and I was going to get exposed and all that type of stuff. I definitely took pride in shutting all that up. But it’s also the realization that when you’re in the fight every year, in that chase to the mountain top and you’re trying to win championships, I might get it more than other people just because I wasn’t supposed to be here.”Steph Curry, SiriusXM NBA Radio
“I wasn’t supposed to be here” – Steph summed it up beautifully. His body and style don’t fit the description of a dominant superstar, and Curry knows it. That provides the hunger to work on his game after winning so many titles and individual accolades. Every player needs to find a narrative to keep that underdog mentality. When they underestimate him, Steph’s competition is feeding that narrative.
And don’t think he doesn’t notice and memorizes all the doubt. Curry may be soft-spoken, amicable, and never gets into a conflict. When speaking publicly, there’s no way to bait him into an aggressive response. But like all other superstars, he notices and uses it as fuel.
“But I don’t think you’re ever going to get that love like that until it’s all said and done. So it doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter what the narrative is. I definitely did appreciate that I played extremely well and reminded everyone what I was capable of. And I’m carrying that confidence into this year. It’s kind of how I’ve approached everything. It starts with me and the internal battle. You can get some fuel from other places when it’s necessary. But it’s always just staying in the present.”Steph Curry, SiriusXM NBA Radio
There’s no doubt Steph is one of the most grounded superstars we’ve had in the NBA. In the end, he’s not doing it for the glory and the headlines. He’s in the Tim Duncan level of team player, and that’s rarified air – Mt. Olympus when it comes to team-first mentality. Doing all he can to bring and later keep KD in Golden State proved it. Curry knew what he was giving up with KD in town and just didn’t care.
But don’t mistake that for a total lack of awareness – Steph Curry hears the talk and uses it to get that extra edge when needed. He ain’t done yet, and the league is on notice.
“I definitely took pride in shutting that up.”— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) September 30, 2021
Stephen Curry tells @thefrankisola and @scalabrine how it felt to silence the “noise” with his play last season
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