We love our sports here in America. Especially the big three of football, basketball, and baseball. What we love even more are the superstar mega athletes that usually feel like bigger-than-life personalities. LeBron James, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers (Editor’s Note: Maybe not his conspiracy theories), Aaron Judge, and so on.
While all these players are viewed as all-time greats in their sport, they don’t always come off as the most relatable people. One NBA player who does and is a superstar to boot would be Stephen Curry, who just hosted the ESPYs. He’s not the biggest and has never been the fastest or most athletic, but because of the way he dominates a game that rewards height, Curry is probably the most relatable superstar athlete of this generation.
Steph and the family were out recently celebrating Riley Curry’s 10th birthday and were captured playing Connect 4 Hoops. In the video, you can clearly see how much fun the Currys are having enjoying each other’s company, although it sounds like Steph may have taken the L. Another example of egoless Steph letting us behind the curtain of his personal life.
I’m not saying other pro athletes don’t go out and have fun with their families, but it looks and feels different with Curry. And that’s an extension of how different it looks when he’s on the court. Steph is doing things in the NBA that we haven’t seen too many small guards accomplish.
You’re hating if you don’t think he’s the best guard under 6-foot-3 in NBA history. That’s where his relatability comes into play. For him to do what he’s been able to do in a league where the average height is 6-foot-6 is remarkable. Take this Top 10 NBA players of all-time debate we heard so much about during the Warriors’ run to another title. Let’s leave Curry out of the conversation for a second.
In most people’s Top 10, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant (if you include him) are the smallest players on the list. Both were listed as 6-foot-6 when they played. Curry is at least three inches shorter and quite a few pounds lighter. I know Steph plays in a less physical era, but basketball will always cater to those with extraordinary height.
Compared to the average person Curry seems tall. But on the NBA court, he is usually one of the smallest on the floor, if not the smallest. And that’s where people, especially kids, feel they can realistically mimic Curry’s actions.
Gatorade had folks thinking they could be like Mike back in the 90s. But once you sat down and watched him play for a quarter, you realized you couldn’t be anything like Mike on the court. Unless you were Bryant or Vince Carter. Kobe is still the closest thing we’ve seen to Jordan, and Carter is only the best dunker of all time. That’s in-game, during warmups or dunk contests. I’ll debate anyone on that.
Most humans aren’t blessed with size and skill like Jordan or Kobe. And even most who have the height lack the talent and ability. But most of us can work on our jump shot, develop our handles and commit to a certain level of work ethic. That said, it doesn’t mean you’ll become Steph Curry, but his way feels more attainable.
Look at all these kids coming into the NBA over the last couple of years. Sure, many of them have the height to play the game but look at the style they’re playing. Everyone is shooting threes from the parking lot. Take a 19-year-old player drafted to the NBA today, who regardless of size, was around 12 years old when Curry and the Warriors won that first championship in 2015. So, that kid went through junior high and high school wanting to be like Steph, not Mike.
It just looks like Curry never sweats anything. He seemingly lets it all roll off his back. Through all the Kevin Durant drama and talk that Steph wasn’t the best player, you never really saw him react publicly. He won his rings and went on about business as usual. Durant left, the Warriors fell off mainly due to injuries, and most said they were done.
So, how did Curry respond to his detractors? He came out and balled in 2021-22, led the Warriors back to the NBA Finals, and won title No. 4. Sure, he got some shit off his chest after winning, but he’d earned it. Curry comes off as a regular person. He has his own aura, but it’s different from that of Jordan or James. They feel larger than life and almost like a dream. Curry feels more like real life and doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously.