Steph Curry is a two-time NBA champion and a two-time NBA MVP. That first number figures to rise significantly over the next five years in which he remains under contract with the Golden State Warriors alongside the rest of the star-studded roster, while the second number is far less predictable.
When his career is all said and done, Curry will go down as one of the greats. His two MVPs already put him ahead of Kobe Bryant and, barring the Warriors breaking up far earlier than expected, he should at least come close to, if not matching Bryant and/or Michael Jordan in rings — considering there’s an attainable plan in place to keep Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson with the Warriors through Curry’s five-year deal. It’s not unheard of to expect three or even four more titles in that span.
Despite that, when discussing modern players with a chance to enter the GOAT conversation, Curry is usually not included.
LeBron James is already sparking that debate and Kevin Durant, health pending, could climb those all-time leaderboards like James has and, again, could win many more titles. Curry doesn’t seem too worried about comparisons to Jordan or LeBron or Kobe or anyone else that may come his way as his career progresses.
In a recent interview with Complex’s Gerald Flores, Curry explained why he doesn’t worry about Jordan or Kobe talk, because he has his eyes set on a different generation.
“A lot of the younger generation who are watching the game now don’t remember seeing Michael play. Even the younger, younger generation don’t even know who Kobe is on the court,” Curry said. “This is my time to do me and get the most out of the game that I can. It goes with that off-the-court impression of being able to inspire kids to want to be like me when they grow up…That’s the goal for sure and there’s a huge opportunity to make that happen.”
It’s not something those of us that grew up on Jordan ever really think about. He’s for so many the GOAT and no one can ever unseat him in their eyes — Damian Lillard explained as much recently — but Curry isn’t worried about guys in their late 20s or 30s or older. He’s focused on the newest generation of NBA fan and inspiring them, which is very telling when you think about Curry’s persona (and probably a very smart business move).
Curry, to fans of a certain age, can come off as goofy or corny, but he’s brilliantly targeted the younger audience. His first sneakers, which have been made fun of at times on social media, were far more popular in the younger age group than they were to the older, sneakerhead crowd that is often difficult to please and not always welcoming to new signatures especially from non-Nike, Jordan, or adidas brands.
So it should come as no surprise that he would have this approach to discussions of being an all-time great.
Unlike a LeBron or Durant or Jordan or Kobe or Shaq, Curry isn’t a larger than life figure and he’s learned to play into that. Curry is an otherworldly basketball talent and, despite what his stature may suggest, is a tremendous athlete, but he has the appearance of being an average guy on the court. It’s what made Allen Iverson so popular, especially to kids growing up during his peak, and it’s what endears Curry to so many. He seems like a more attainable goal to someone growing up wanting to play ball than a 6’8, 250 pound physical specimen, and he knows that.
When asked by Flores why he’s so popular in China, he pointed to how people find his game relatable.