Link to my Thursday column about Stephen Curry and Oscar Robertson and Phil Jackson.
I could not agree more. Phil Jackson comes off as bitter, pompous know-it-all. Where’s the graciousness? And I’m still mad at Oscar Robertson who did color on the 1975 finals and was incredulous that the Warriors were sweeping the star-filled Bullets. Before Game Four said watch out for Bullets to win four.
What I think it is, is that the Warriors, and Curry specifically, are making it look so easy that all these old timers think that the game is diluted, that the competition/defense/talent/skill(what have you) is no where near as good as when they played. They see the Warriors dominance not as the Warriors being so good but as everyone else being so bad.
Curry makes it look so easy at times, in their eyes, it can’t be that he’s that good, its just that everyone else isn’t good. Curry needs to stop making it look so easy, because these all timers, who haven’t laced-em up in well over 20 years (some closer to 40+ years), had a lot more difficult time when they played and its a shot to their ego that someone else is making it look so easy.
Hubris to the extreme.
Phil Jackson is an insufferable Internet troll. It is classic troll behavior to put something idiotic and provocative out there on social media, and then aim the blame for your stupid post on others’ lack of understanding.
The sad fact is Phil has this time on his hands because he’d rather be on Twitter than watching the tire fire of a team he’s put together play basketball.
Jackson’s rings can’t be denied but neither can it be denied that he walked onto teams that already had Jordan (and Pippen?) and then Shaq and Kobe.
And in my opinion, one of the worst traps a GM or coach can fall into is making players fit into a “system” rather than fitting your system to the players you have. It works, but rarely. Like when you’ve got generational talent on your team. Obviously doesn’t work when you’ve got Carmelo Anthony and four other guys.
Steve Kerr got the biggest get out of jail free card getting out of the Knicks dumpster.
I thought JJ Adande had a great piece on ESPN about this. You do have to pay homage to the greats of the past. Oscar did a lot for basketball and free agency in general, yet receives no accolades from today’s players for all he did. Michael Jordan is going in that direction as well. He still gets tons of accolades from older fans and players, but he was an international house hold name not that long ago. He’ll be Oscar in another 10/20 years and there will be more scorn if he doesn’t appreciate the superstar of that day.
Yeah, Phil and Oscar are all wet regarding Curry but let’s take a moment and look more closely at what these greats did too. I take this as a way of paying homage to the great past of this game. Curry is it’s present and I’m enjoying the heck out of it! These arguments are proof of the level of play that Steph has arrived. He’s a great and if he can keep it up, he can scorn the players of 2040. And deserve young fan scorn of that day…
Great article. I liken this debate to be similar to that when it comes to any kind of Hall of Fame debate. In those discussions the numbers are indeed important and some may even be considered “hallowed”. But the biggest aspect is comparing them to their peers in the era they played in.
Case in point: Both Lynn Swann and John Stallworth are in the NFL Hall of Fame. If you look purely at their numbers, many more modern receivers have far better career numbers than they had. But in the era in which they played they were two of the absolute best and worthy of enshrinement.
Bigger, better, faster, stronger. Better training facilities. Year round monitoring of dietary needs and fitness. As the world continues to advance so do athletes in every sport. Rules change and players adapt. Coaches adapt. Teams adapt.
And some are simply better than others.
Curry is one of those players. Who is better than his peers. And doing things at a far higher level than has been seen before.
He is transformational.
How does Curry and this team do in the ‘Thug Era’?
If thugs like Larry Smith, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley, Bill Laimbear, Rick Mahorn etc. are permitted to put men down today like they were in the 1990’s…what’s a 6’2″ 185lb guy gonna do while running his motion patterns through the paint?
Two thumbs way, way up, Lowell.
“Johnny U” Syndrome.
@ Stan- Have you looked at Curry or Klay and the scratches, bruises and cuts on their arms, shoulders and even face during a game? And those are the ones we can see. Those two are held and swiped at to no end and still find a way to perform at the level they do.
Fact is that this team and all of the ways in which they can score the ball contributes to the greatness of each of them. Curry is just a happy to score the ball as he is to set up his teammates. The NBA has not see the likes of this kind of team offense since the days of the 80’s Celtics and Lakers. With those Celtics you might stop Bird one night, but McHale and Parrish and Johnson and Ainge could light you up. Same for the Lakers, if you stopped Magic, had to deal with Kareem, Worthy, Thompson etc.
Rick Barry also was interviewed a couple of days ago and said that Curry is the best shooter ever. I don’t remember Oscar playing but I always thought that Frazier and Monroe were the best shooting back court till now. Clay and Steph are unstoppable. Although Clay is a bit streaky with his shots.
Great read Lowell and spot on. I didn’t watch basketball for years because it was so boring. Like Cleveland Cavaliers’ ball boring.
The Warriors make it fun because they play the game, not foul and thug. Unfortunately we have the Sactown Kings who can do neither. But they have hands-down the soon-to-be ugliest arena in the world so I guess that’s something…
I don’t think you can lump Robertson’s and Jackson’s comments together, or at least I don’t think you should. Robertson was clearly trying to tear Curry down, whereas Jackson was simply comparing his style of play to Abdul-Rauf’s. The timing was kind of off the wall, but he really didn’t say anything that Steve Kerr didn’t say earlier: “The only guys I can think of that are close would be Mark Price, Steve Nash and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He had a lot of that, but didn’t have the same range that Steph has. Nash didn’t have the speed. But Mark Price, Steph’s very similar to Price. Price had that package, but not to the extent Steph has it.” Kerr said it better, of course — he always does — but I have to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Lowell Cohn has been covering Bay Area sports for more than 30 years and he’s never run out of things to say.