During the Christmas Day broadcast of the Warriors win over the Cavaliers, ABC color commentator — and former Warriors’ coach — Mark Jackson said something about Stephen Curry that caused some controversy:
“To a degree, he’s hurting the game. And what I mean by that is I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids, and the first thing they do is run to the three-point line. You are not Steph Curry. Work on your other aspects of the game. People don’t think that he’s just a knock-down shooter. That’s not why he’s the MVP. He’s a complete basketball player.”
Curry had a measured response after the game — unlike Andrew Bogut, who has no love lost for Jackson — but Curry’s response on Saturday tried to take Jackson’s comment as a compliment, as reported by the Contra Costa Times.
“After I heard all of what he was talking about, I understand where he’s coming from – that being for the youth of today and how they watch us play or watch me in particular, and they want to go out and try to do the same thing,” Curry said Saturday. “It’s all about practice and routine and repetition that can help you get to that point, so you can’t skip that part of the process.
“I wish he would have phrased it just a little bit differently. I think I’m trying to inspire people to see the game differently in a positive way…I get what he was saying. There was a compliment in there. Knowing him personally, I think that’s what he meant.”
Jackson’s phrasing was unfortunate.
It’s also a little bit historically naive. Starting in the driveway playing pickup with our family, every kid tries to emulate the great players of their era. We all wanted to be Magic or Jordan or Kobe or Iverson or whomever — and now for a lot of young players that is Curry. As it should be. Along those same lines, young players at the high school level or younger have made bad decisions trying to emulate Magic Johnson’s passes or Kobe’s midrange shot selection, or what have you, forever. Well, some players do. The ones that go on and advance up the ladder — maybe even eventually to play in the NBA — figure out that they need to be themselves, not someone else, and they do round out their games. That’s not on Curry, that’s on their coaches and ultimately the players themselves.