The Golden State Warriors are having terrible days, losing eight of eight games on the road as of this writing. Suddenly, another back-to-back championship seems to be in the precipice. Even die-hard fans are wary of talking about legacy. The only legacy that is in certitude is that of Stephen Curry, crowned even by NBA megastars James LeBron, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal as the best shooter, even as the best player that the basketball galaxy has ever seen.
Commentators and analysts – even those who pooh-poohed Stephen in recent past – are gushing over his talent, athleticism, selflessness, and character. The only Unanimous MVP so far has been hailed as the most loved player in the NBA – by the public and by competitors. Being baby-faced could be misleading. Curry is one who takes no lightly insults and slights, imagined or otherwise, heaped his way.
Stephen is like my other idol, Michael Jordan, who gets motivated to play sharper by trash talks. Though Jordan even initiates and spews garbage to psych his opponents, Curry just keeps quiet and dances. And if reports are accurate, he will dance all the way to the bank with billion dollar deals in a few months.
Only a few inches atop six feet in a sport where being a behemoth could be advantageous, Curry is looked upon as small. In high school, he was a pint. In college, despite previous productive performances, he was in want of sports scholarship. He was ridiculed as the scrawny tsambero, so he eventually bulked up. “Dubs” teammates Andre Iguodala and, next, Kevin Durant, took home Finals MVPs before Curry did in the 2022 when the Warriors trumped the Boston Celtics.
A classic rejection story is how Nike passed him over when his endorsement renewal was due, offering him relatively a pittance and preferring other flashy players, leading Curry to move to Under Armour, a wannabe. Under Armour’s plate consisted of making him the face of the brand, his own signature shoes, and much bigger pay.
According to ESPN, and I quote “Nike continually addressed Stephen as ‘Steph’on’ instead of pronouncing his name correctly. It only got worse as Nike’s PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name in the place of Steph Curry – which was likely the result of recycling slides from Nike’s pitch to Kevin Durant.”
After snatching Curry, the value of Under Armour doubled and became a US$14 billion dollar company almost overnight. Its Curry shoes is second only to the prime Nike Air of Jordan. The profits of the Warriors alone have shot up with the Curry jersey the top product in the NBA. And now, Under Armour is offering Curry to be part owner of the company.
Indeed, there are people who make themselves better persons by the slights they get – again, real or imagined. Even in a competitive environment like sports, they strive for betterment. Others aim for the destruction of those who they perceived are the cause of their suffering. In another world, they may close television stations or lock up critics with fake charges. Others, kill radio commentators. A different game all together.