The NBA legends are at it again when it comes to trying to diminish what the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry are doing this season. First we heard all about them against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, then there were the comments from Oscar Robertson, and this time Walt “Clyde” Frazier joins in on making some comments.
The conversation with Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio starts at about the 50-minute mark, but here are some key quotes, the first one is about how Frazier thinks Curry’s game would translate in different eras:
“Well, there’s no comparison because of the 3-ball, man. Like the former players, I never had an opportunity for the 3-ball. I retired in 1980, that’s when the 3-ball came in. So that’s really the evolution of the game, where Curry, obviously, let’s say you take away the 3-ball. If there was no 3-ball shot, would we be talking about the greatness of Curry today? What has made him great is his ability — uncanny ability, man — to shoot from 30 feet, 35 feet, the accuracy that he has shown in making that particular shot.”
So, Mike and Mike asked what if there was no 3-point shot?
Yeah, but it would be a little more difficult because now you gotta use penetration. What the former players are saying — Oscar, all of us are saying, well, you can’t handcheck these guys anymore. But now if you’re looking for 2s, you can be a little more physical than 3s, because 3s, guys are just hanging out behind the arc. So Curry’s not the only guy thriving down there. Harden is doing that. Thompson does it. There are a lot of other guys that are also thriving on the 3-point shot, but we’re focusing on him because he’s a champion and it’s just uncanny and remarkable, when the game is on the line, this guy’s accuracy to come up with big shots.
Finally, they asked him about the inability of today’s coaches and players to stop Curry and what that means in respect to stopping him in Frazier’s era.
Well, they’ll have to figure it out, man, if they are to stop these guys. To me, I look at the most phenomenal seasons in the NBA — Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 points per game, Nate Archibald led the league in scoring and assists, the Big O averaged a triple-double — but they didn’t do that ever year, you know what I mean? They never reached that pinnacle once they did that. To me, this is where Curry is. He’s having that phenomenal season — to me, a signature season — but is he gonna do this for the next five years? I don’t really think so. So I don’t know if he’ll ever reach this level again. So this is what he’s doing now, maybe they won’t be able to stop him this year, but they’ll have to find a way to contain this guy like they’ve done Kobe, like they’re doing LeBron, like they’ve done all the other superstars in the league.
So, what exactly are we making of all of this? Well, for starters, I think that these legends are always going to say that they can stop whatever superstar player from whatever era comes after them. They all pride themselves on the games they played in their time, and each one of them thinks that there is no era tougher than their own. This is why it’s not too surprising that Frazier would come out and say all of this about stopping Curry and how his game would translate. They just have to understand that we have never seen anything like Steph Curry, but that does not in any way take away from what the legends did before him. Just because we are marveling at the things he is able to do, does not mean we think players like Oscar Robertson, Walt Frazier, etc. are bad players all of a sudden. Every era of fans has a player that they all see and think, “Wow, he’s the best player we’ve ever seen.” Some may think it’s Michael Jordan, some may think the best they’ve seen is LeBron James, and the fans getting into basketball now may think that’s Steph Curry.
Bottom line, there’s no reason for former players to keep getting sour over the type of recognition that Curry is getting right now. They all got their own share of the lime light, so let the current players get their own.
H/T: CBS Sports