If you’re an NBA fan, maybe you like Steph Curry. Exciting player, Davidson, dad played in the NBA, MVP, best shooter ever – it’s a nice little story.
But if you’re an NBA player, Curry might not be your favorite – and not just because he’s almost impossible to guard.
“Adoration is a scarcity, fame is a scarcity, endorsement deals are a scarcity, and here came some guy who, in 2014, was just a nice player, a one-time All-Star, and in 2015 was MVP and in 2016 a unanimous MVP,” Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “It just all happened so fast. Everybody was like, ‘Wait a second. Hold on. Our whole team of branding had this all mapped out where we were about to take over. Who is this Davidson kid?’ I think they don’t like that. They don’t like just how much adoration he gets. It’s not that they don’t like him so much; they don’t think he deserves it. They don’t think he’s that much better than them. A lot of these pro athletes are a little bit petty and jealous anyway. But it has a lot to do with hat. Steph has gotten to a level that nobody expected, and they’re like, ‘Why him?’”
Thompson, the author of “Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry,” has discovered that many NBA superstars are not enamored with Curry. They like him as a person, but they don’t like his popularity.
“I think LeBron had a problem with Stephen Curry being anointed like that because it meant he was no longer the king,” Thompson said. “He took it as his personal mission to remind all of us that he is the best. I think some of that led to this feeling of animosity with Steph and got him doing things toward Steph that he probably wouldn’t do towards anybody else. I think LeBron is one. I think Chris Paul is one. Russell Westbrook has commercials and stuff taking shots at him. I think Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas – the list goes on. And again, I don’t think they don’t like Steph. I think a lot of them are just like, ‘Why are you putting him over us?’ They’re just not ready to embrace him like that.”
Thompson realized after the 2015 season just how much jealousy and animosity some players felt toward Curry.
“This really hit me when the players decided to vote their own MVP,” he said. “For the first time ever, when it was clear Steph was going to win MVP in 2015, they said, ‘We don’t want your media vote. We’re going to have our own vote.’ And then they voted James Harden. I was just stunned that they were like basically, ‘Steph is not our MVP.’ It was stunning. I couldn’t believe they would do that to one of their one, but that’s when I kind of got wind of it.”
And it could get worse. The Warriors are favored to reach the Finals for the third straight season, and this time, they would have Kevin Durant. If Thompson could choose, he’d take Durant over the depth the Warriors gave up to acquire him.
“When you get to the Finals, that strength in numbers stuff, that kind of goes out the window,” he said. “The Warriors were playing 10 guys and the Cavs were playing seven. You got to put your best players on the court. The Warriors lost that championship when Steve Kerr put in Festus Ezeli, and immediately LeBron took advantage of him. I think in the end, in those moments when the game is on the line, they have the better players. That kind of outweighs depth.”