It’s no secret that the Golden State Warrior are one of the most disliked teams in basketball. The team prides itself on a deadly, cocky three-point attack that many basketball purists shake their heads at. However, those predicting Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s fire-at-will mentality would crash and burn have been proved wrong over and over by a Golden State team that dominates year after year.
Steph Curry and crew have had their share of success, including an NBA title two years ago, an MVP award for Curry, and the most successful regular season of all time with a staggering 73-9 record. However, the team came up short of repeating as NBA champs last year, losing to LeBron James and the Cavaliers. What did the stacked Golden State team do next? Signed over superstar Kevin Durant from their Western Conference rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder and solidified their status of the “villains” of the league, a team hated for stacking talent in a way that almost seems unfair.
For people who don’t like the Warriors or their basketball, the natural place to start is with Steph Curry. The son of former NBA player Dell Curry has redefined what an NBA superstar looks like. He’s not the biggest, tallest, strongest or fastest, he doesn’t throw down jaw dropping dunks, and he doesn’t play lockdown defense. However, he’s unquestionably one of the top players in the league, and has the consistent success to back up the claim. With that in mind, let’s look at his most notable critics. Below are the Top 15 People Who Don’t Like Steph Curry.
15. Stephen Jackson
You’ll notice a common theme in this article: former NBA players love to complain about the state of the league today. Whether it’s players being too soft or coaches not focusing on fundamentals, there is always something for ex-players to pick on. For Stephen Jackson, that something is Steph Curry.
Jackson is apparently not impressed by the Warriors dominance, claiming that his 2006-2007 Warriors would be able to beat the current Warriors team. Those Warriors went a whopping 42-40 in the regular season and claimed the eighth seed in the West. While they did surprise people with an upset of the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, they quietly exited after a lopsided series loss to the Utah Jazz in the second round.
14. Dennis Rodman
I guess it’s not surprising that Steph Curry would be a target of criticism for a player on the 1995-96 Bulls team who held the title of Most Dominant Regular Season Ever with their 72-10 mark. But Rodman apparently doesn’t have a lot of respect for Curry, emphatically stating that Klay Thomson is the real reason for the Warriors success and that it isn’t about Curry.
This isn’t the first time Rodman has made headlines with an unpopular opinion about current NBA stars. A while ago, he claimed LeBron James would be an “average” player if he played during Rodman’s era.
While a great rebounder and player in his time, Rodman hasn’t exactly made a smooth transition into basketball analysis, and seems to instead be most interest in making the most unpopular claims possible.
13. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley has never been afraid of saying something controversial. The star power forward turned basketball analyst currently works for TNT and has had many notable feuds with various current and former NBA players.
Steph Curry did not escape his disapproval. Sir Charles made waves last year when he announced that in his opinion, Steph Curry was “just a great shooter”, implying he was a one-dimensional player and nothing more, at a time when people were considering whether Curry’s last few years qualified as some of the greatest by any player in basketball history. While you’ll find few people who won’t concede that Curry is probably the best pure shooter of all time, the next best thing seems to be tearing down his abilities as a playmaker and defender.
12. Michael Bennett
Unlike most on this list, Michael Bennett is not a basketball player and doesn’t have much to say about Curry’s passing or defense. The Seattle Seahawks defensive end, however, took issue with another aspect of Steph Curry’s career: his extremely expensive basketball camps.
Being an overnight camper of one of Steph Curry’s weekend camps in Bennett’s home of Hawaii costs $2,250 per kid, something that Bennett saw as too much to charge as a professional athlete looking to give back to a community, and he let Steph Curry and other athletes know with some very public criticism.
In contrast, the Pro Bowl MVP drew over 700 young football players to a completely free camp he offered last summer and is committed to providing fun and informative camps that extend to everyone, not just families rich enough to afford a high-priced camp.
11. James Harden
James Harden just wants some recognition. Since getting tired of being the third option in Oklahoma City behind Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Harden has been easily a top-five player, starring as The Man in Houston. His value to his team and his place among the league’s best is clear. Unfortunately for him, the MVP award voters don’t see things the same way, and voted Steph Curry to win the individual award the past two seasons.
Although he’s many people’s pick to take home the hardware this year, it hasn’t been easy for Harden. Following his failed MVP campaign in 2015, Harden wasn’t shy about letting people know that he thought he “100%” deserved the award. That must have made it that much harder to watch Curry win the award unanimously last year.
10. Sneaker Fans Everywhere
From Michael Jordan to LeBron, Paul George, Kevin Durant, etc, every huge NBA star has their own signature shoe line, and they are typically a huge hit with fans everywhere. So it makes perfect sense for a superstar like Steph Curry to team up with Under Armour for his own signature shoes. Unfortunately, his second foray into the shoe game, the Curry 2 Lows, were about as big of a flop as it is possible for shoes to be.
The sneakers were mocked mercilessly on Twitter, with people calling them “perfect for a morning of mallwalking, or for the 4:30 Early Bird Dinner at Golden Corral.” It’s safe to say the all-white “dad shoe” were incredibly unpopular, with Under Armour even seeing a 5% dip in market shares over the shoes.
9. Jaylen Brown
In a game against the Celtics this season, Curry schooled Jaylen Brown with a quick fake and a step-through three-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter. Fair enough. But after the play Curry made sure to rub it in, pointing at Brown and getting some trash talk in before walking away from the rookie.
“I didn’t say a word to him,” Brown said after the game, surprised by Curry’s gestures. “I was just out there playing D, doing my job. He looked at me and starting doing whatever.”
It was Brown who got the last laugh, as the Celtics beat the Warriors with a convincing 99-86 victory. It would certainly make for an interesting matchup if the teams made it through their respective conferences to meet again in this year’s NBA finals.
8. Tracy McGrady
I told you the list would feature a lot of former players complaining about the current state of the league. Seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady was clearly unimpressed by Steph Curry’s unanimous MVP award last year, and he made sure everybody knew about it.
According to McGrady, Curry’s MVP win shows the league is weak and watered down, compared to when players like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal were winning their MVPs. Apparently the league lacks enough “top-notch” players to play good enough defense against Curry and his Warriors, resulting in their success.
7. Mark Jackson
The former Warrior’s coach and NBA analyst didn’t hold back his opinion of Steph Curry’s three point dominance, saying in his opinion Curry was “hurting the game” with his unprecedented shooting performances.
Why is Curry hurting the game? According to Jackson, it’s because he’s inspiring a generation of young basketball players to focus on shooting rather than other important fundamentals. Jackson’s comments don’t really make a lot of sense. Apparently previous generations of basketball players, rather than practice their shooting, were able to try and emulate things like Michael Jordan’s incredible natural athleticism and vertical leap? NBA superstars ave always represented a bar unattainable for most, but at least with Curry his strength is less his physical gifts and more his tirelessly practiced shooting form, an example of complete dedication to his craft we all can learn from.
6. Doc Rivers
The former Boston Celtics and Current Los Angeles Clippers coach may not harbor deep personal resentment for the Warriors star, but has made some comments that seem to indicate he doesn’t think too highly of his Western conference rival.
As Curry’s three-point shooting cemented him in many people’s minds as the greatest shooter of all-time, Rivers indicated that he didn’t even think Curry is the best in the league, calling Clippers guard J.J. Redick the top deep threat. He also called the Warriors 2015 championship run “lucky”, and when an injury sidelined Curry during the two team’s playoff series last year, Rivers drew a parallel to the Warrior’s losing Curry to the Celtics losing Kendrick Perkins for a game in the 2010 playoffs. Kendrick Perkins? No one in their right mind would consider the journeyman center as anywhere near as valuable as Curry.
5. Oscar Robertson
It almost seems like if you put a microphone anywhere near a former NBA star, they’re going to complain about Steph Curry and the Warriors. All-time great point guard Oscar Robertson added to that chorus last year, commenting that the reason Curry was so good is because modern coaches don’t understand basketball or defense.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure coaches know that in order to prevent someone from dropping deep shots on you all game there needs to be a defender on him. It’s just that with a once-in-a-lifetime talent like Curry, it doesn’t matter a ton. If you watch any Warriors game, you’ll notice Curry getting bumped, bodied, and roughed up after many of his three point attempts.
It doesn’t really matter, as Curry’s lightning quick release and mind-boggling talent for putting the ball in the bucket make him pretty much impossible to adequately guard. But Oscar Robertson clearly disagrees, and is apparently sick of all the “talented shooters” and other garbage today’s NBA has produced.
4. Damian Lillard
We’ll close this list off by looking at some of today’s NBA stars that have been…less than thrilled…with Steph Curry’s rise to stardom. Among them is Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard, who would like you to know he is his own person. A rising star and a Western conference point guard who can score from everywhere, it’s no surprise that Lillard draws comparisons to Curry. That doesn’t mean he has to like it, however.
“I was being Damian Lillard,” was his brusque response to a reporter asking if he was channeling Steph Curry in an impressive 20-point first quarter that included three consecutive three pointers in a game against the Indiana Pacers last season. Lillard clearly thinks it would be nice if an NBA player could have a good game without immediate comparisons to Curry being thrown at them.
3. Chris Paul
You may notice a common theme developing, as Paul is also a Western conference standout and also plays point guard. According to author Marcus Thompson’s latest book, Paul is one of many NBA stars with “disdain” for Steph Curry and his accomplishments. Chris Paul was supposed to be the next big thing in the NBA, the next to win a championship.
Apparently Steph didn’t wait his turn, and his meteoric rise to greatness resulted in him leap-frogging a lot of players like Paul who were in line for superstardom.
2. Russell Westbrook
To be fair, no one really knows if Russell Westbrook likes anybody. But Steph Curry has to be near the top of the list of people he doesn’t like. After fellow superstar Kevin Durant ditched Westbrook to go play with Curry, Westbrook has been on a one man mission to take over the NBA, and averaged a ridiculous triple-double this season.
Unfortunately for Westbrook, it hasn’t gone well for him against the Warriors, as Golden State won all four of their regular season contests, with the most recent one getting heated as Westbrook and Curry got into it following a jump ball.
Curry also made it known that he would pick James Harden over Westbrook in this years MVP race, which Westbrook dismissed, saying “Who’s he?” Westbrook has to be just itching to get a shot against Curry, Durant, and the rest of the Warriors in this year’s playoffs.
1. LeBron James
As the two players that will go down as defining this era as basketball, it’s no surprise that LeBron and Curry have beef. The last two NBA finals have been intense duels between James and Steph, as the latter replaces the former as the face of the NBA.
Whether it’s on-court trash talking or tense off-court interview replies, the last two NBA seasons have been peppered with the tension between the two superstars.
It’s clear why Curry is a source of frustration with James. The Cleveland star’s chief rival was previously Kobe Bryant, and the two duked it out for many entertaining years for the title of “Best Player in the NBA”. The 6’8″ James and the 6’6″ Bryant played similar roles, both were impressive scorers and dominant in the post, and routinely took each other on in thrilling one-on-one matchups where they let their play do the talking. With King James’s next challenger, though, things are different. The wiry guard’s biggest weapon is his deep shot, and the two are seldom matched up together as it’s clear the physically dominant James would have no problems taking Curry to the rim or shooting over him.
Despite James’s physical advantage, Curry’s sheer dominance from deep has put him even with James in the mind of analysts around the league, and with a better supporting cast in Golden State, it will be a tough job for James to disprove that conception if the two teams meet in this year’s NBA finals.