Back in February, NBA great and TNT analyst Charles Barkley claimed that reigning league MVP Stephen Curry is “just a great shooter” and nothing else.
Oscar Robinson followed Barkley’s accusation, saying NBA coaches don’t understand the game of basketball for not devising a plan to stop Curry, something as simple as extending their defense on him to prevent easy pull-up three-point shots.
And just days ago, former New York Knicks legend Walt Frazier said that he believes the league will eventually figure Curry out, hinting that if he had played back in his era, his style of play would not have translated the same way.
The list of NBA greats pointing out flaws and criticisms Curry’s game may continue, but Cavaliers superstar LeBron James acknowledged his game, saying he doesn’t appreciate all the disapproval coming from those who played in the past.
“I’m respectful to all the guys who paved the way, the greats, guys who were role players, guys who were part of a championship team or was not,” James said to USA Today. “I’ve always been respectful, so it does kind of suck when you’ve got guys who played before us and paved the way for us (and) …they like to talk down on a lot of our players, saying, ‘Well if they played in our era it wouldn’t be the same.’”
James recalled a time in which Dennis Rodman said that if he had played in the 80’s and 90’s, he would’ve been an average player. Now, people are doing the same to Curry, a denunciation James dismissed because of how trends and eras have changed over time.
“And they say the same things about Steph, ‘If Steph played in our era, then we’d be more physical with him and we’d go at him,’ James continued. “And it sucks because we’re just trying to carry the torch for the next group to come behind us.”
With a Finals rematch between James and Curry in June a possibility, it was great to see James defend a player who now shares just as much of the spotlight as he does, one he himself has helped pave the way for.