Hater Target No. 1
By: Sherwood Strauss
From the annals of J.J. Redick’s terrible poetry:
“I can’t see what my future has in store
but I move forth with the strength of a condor
The courage of a warrior”
When a friend heard I’d be writing for WarriorsWorld, he said ‘Be sure to include several insulting remarks about the media’s (very unprintable) for Curry.’ No thanks, kid’s cool by me. And the media isn’t some monolith, devoted to worshiping shrimpy NCAA golden boys—it’s a monolith devoted to worshiping Kobe Bryant and his fake broken finger.
So how does the media treat Kid Curry? Skill assessment guys like ESPN’s David Thorpe wax poetic about Stephen’s sweet shot. Hollinger’s PER system remains disappointed, though (Curry FAIL…delete! delete!). Often John’s supercomputer (really, it’s just a set of simple formula) churns out disappointing results for aesthetically pleasing players. Or, as Lakers fans put it, ‘Kobe RULZ HolLinnGER U NERD UR STATS LUV LEBRON SO Y DONT U MARY HIM.’ I’m not saying one guy’s right or wrong, just pointing out that the NBA media is somewhat split on No. 30. I say ‘somewhat’ because, really they don’t care: It’s the Warriors, so these are mild disagreements about basketball oblivion. Our guys aren’t rated enough to join in on major overrated vs. underrated big media conversations.
There is a richer debate that lies beneath the national sports coverage—one between fans of rival universes. This is about more than Stephen-don’t-call-me-Steeeven-Curry. It’s a historic battle between NBA junkies and NCAA apologists, er, lovers. This is awful because I identify with the former group, and burn a lot of calories tweaking the latter. I despise their racially tinged comments about how the NBA is run by thugs, the players don’t try, the defense is lacking, Stephen Jackson, Zach Randolph, blah blah, etc.
It’s damned unfair because the NCAA is drenched in the most fetid of sleaze. First off, John Calipari exists. If that weren’t bad enough, the NCAA has lurched into NBA territory. John Wall’s one-and-done charade forces us to wait on a superstar who clearly doesn’t want to be in school (Anyone remember when Wall explored going pro?). I hate the NCAA because it’s one big sham of an exploitative paternalistic lie. Here’s my most concise, eloquent take on college ball: It’s stupid, I hate it, hate it, hate it, HATE it.
And I’m not alone. Unfortunately, my brethren who spew bile at Dicky-V also tend towards hatred of Curry and his stupid pre-pubescent mustache. Here’s the non-flowchart of how it all works:
Dick Vitale loves Curry, which means…
Curry’s the paragon of college basketball virtue.
Many hardcore NBA fans resent college ball’s ‘clean’ image, which means…
They’ll hate former college stars.
So Curry gets the Redick treatment.
It’s not fair; he didn’t do anything to deserve this. Curry also didn’t ask for a Nash comparison (thanks for that, Don Nelson). Speaking of Nellie, dude said it all when he joked about Curry’s ‘lack of tattoos’ problem. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have sleeves. Curry’s so milquetoast, his one measly tat is of Davidson’s lame-ass motto: Trust, Commitment, Care. Ugh. Better unlearn all of that when dealing with Cohan, kid.
Some of us revel in the NBA’s rebellious streak, even as Stern appears on the precipice of banning the dunk. We love self-made heroes who go from nothing to something, all the while playing by different rules. ‘One tat’ Stephen is more role model than rebel. Some would claim he’s more trust fund than And One. Curry’s a rich kid with a pedigree. He’s a devout Christian who points to the Lord whenever God grants thee a three (I’d pay so much money to see a weirdo like Ron Artest point at the ground after making a bucket).
But, what the hell is Curry supposed to do? Become hard? Yell at the Coach? We’re supposed to hate players for being disingenuous, not for just being. A-Rod’s annoying because he’s inept at trying to be a mega celebrity. We used to hate Kobe because he stole Jordan’s fist pump, along with MJ’s post game cadence. Since when do we hate nice guys who just love to hoop?
So let’s forget about who Curry is or what he might stand for. The kid’s game is lovable right now, trust me. While the yearlong advanced metrics have not exactly impressed, he’s won me over in the past two weeks. Curry pulls the shot trigger faster than frogs snatch flies. And these shots go nearly straight up in the air—call it the ‘Currainbow.’ Every long bomb is but a far away floater. If you wanted to know how a little guy with substandard athleticism creates his shot, you’re watching it every other night.
And I’m enjoying the experience, even if he throws the occasional pass into the stands. Curry may not be the next Nash, but the haters should stop pretending he’s J.J. Redick 2.0.
Email Sherwood Straus at firstname.lastname@example.org
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