There can be no doubt that Stephen Curry is leaving his mark on the sport of basketball. The two-time MVP and two-time champion has done more than just impact the Golden State Warriors; he’s impacted the league, the community, and how the sport is played.
Earlier this week, ESPN ranked the top-100 most influential players in NBA history. Curry was ranked 10th, in some pretty elite company.
Who changed the game of basketball the most?— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2018
Our list of the most influential NBA players ever: https://t.co/RDMqHyHWIm pic.twitter.com/ZRnXrxJST4
10th is certainly some high praise, and Kevin Arnovitz described the Curry influence beautifully, saying “Curry will go down as not only the avatar of the NBA’s Golden Age of Shooting, but as the inspiration for generations of kids who see him as the model for how to refine their skills and overcome bigger, more athletic players.”
While it’s hard to argue with a 30-year old already cracking the top-10 in most influential players of all time, I would still aver that Curry should be a bit higher on the list. No single attribute represents the sport of basketball quite like shooting, and Curry is not only the greatest shooter of all-time, but the greatest by a country mile.
His impact has not only altered the way offenses and defenses play right now, but redefined the defining skill of the sport. Kids in their backyards couldn’t fly like MJ, or practice bullying smaller defenders like Shaq. But they can point their toes, tuck their elbow, flick their wrist, and practice hundreds of jumpers every day.
Ultimately, he’s about as influential as a player can be. But still . . . 10th ain’t bad.
Here’s the full list of players with Warriors connections who made the top 100:
5. Wilt Chamberlain
10. Steph Curry
11. Jerry West
48. Rick Barry
51. Chris Webber
54. Kevin Durant
58. Don Nelson
65. Bill Sharman
66. Draymond Green
67. Sarunas Marciulionis
73. John Lucas
75. Jeremy Lin
76. Steve Kerr
88. Bob Lanier
98. Manute Bol
100. Al Attles