Christmas Day holds a special place in the hearts of basketball fans. Much like Thanksgiving is a day full of football, Christmas is a day full of NBA basketball. There's nothing like opening gifts and have a nice, big plate of food and sitting down to watch the league's best and brightest tip it off on Christmas.
This past Christmas saw a rematch of last year's NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. It was a highly anticipated match-up with Cleveland struggling to gain its footing in the new year while the Warriors looked like a well-oiled machine. The game itself was entertaining and worth watching but it was commentator Mark Jackson's comments that made the game a national topic of conversation.
During the game, Jackson made mention that Steph Curry was bad for the game of basketball. On the surface, it would appear that Jackson, who was the coach of the Warriors a couple years ago, is throwing shade. However, if you dig a bit deeper into the context of the comment, Jackson has a point.
His intention was never to downplay Curry's greatness or ability. He was simply trying to make the point that kids around the world watch Curry perform amazing feats on the basketball court and then try to go and replicate them during youth league and high school games. You know what? He's right...these kids do try to imitate what they see Steph Curry do, albeit with little to no success.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I would agree. I spent countless hours practicing and trying to perfect Tim Hardaway's UTEP Two-Step or also known as the Killer Crossover. Now, read that again. I spent countless hours PRACTICING the move. I didn't expect to simply take the move and use it in my next game. I knew it had to be perfect, just like Tim Hardaway's. And that's what's being lost in translation here. Mark Jackson didn't intend on this becoming a firestorm. He was simply stating the obvious. Kids mimic their favorite player but most of the time, they do so without spending the same amount of hours perfecting their skills as their idols have.
Believe me when I say this, I love Steph Curry's game. I think he's a transformational player. He has ushered in a new way to play the game and I think that's the greatest way to give back to the game. What younger players fail to realize is that Steph Curry has made tremendous sacrifices to reach the pinnacle of basketball. There was likely a loss of normalcy growing up. He likely sacrificed doing all the things normal kids and teenagers do in order to be great. That's what younger players today need to understand.
In no way shape or form do I think Steph Curry is bad for the game of basketball. I do think, however, that Mark Jackson's comments taken out of context could lead to some believing Curry is bad for the sport. Jackson was simply trying to bring to light that becoming a player of Curry's caliber takes dedication and work. If a young player is willing to make the sacrifices and put in the work then yes, he/she could potentially be a great player one day. If a young player is just content to lace up a pair of Curry's signature Under Armour sneakers and go out and start firing up 30-foot three pointers and throwing no-look passes then he/she is likely going to find a spot on the bench quickly.
In short, Steph Curry is good for the game of basketball but studying his work ethic and dedication to the game is even better for the game and for our younger players. There are several videos on the web that show Curry working on his game. Mimic the drills and moves and go out in your driveway and practice them. You want to become a good shooter like Steph? Spend time working on form shooting and practicing the proper footwork and mechanics of a jump shot. Start in close and work your way out. Enjoy the process and remember that there will have to be sacrifices made if you truly want to be great. Work with a passion and a purpose.
If we can help you with your goals and aspirations, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're not promising you'll ever be the next Steph Curry but we will promise that you'll be the best YOU...and in the end, that's all that really matters.