Stephen Curry is inspiring a generation of youngsters to take up the game of basketball today with his heroics on the court, despite the slight frame and build. Players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis have a size that isn't considered normal and not many are blessed with, but at six-foot-three, Curry is as normal as they come.
The Golden State Warriors point guard is proving that basketball is not all about size, but the reigning MVP may not have been in this position if it wasn't for the man who inspired him, Allen Iverson.
The former Philadelphia 76ers star, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2016 on Monday, was one of the best players at six feet or under to ever play the game and Curry was just one of countless youngsters he inspired along the way.
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"He was a guy I loved watching, just his entertainment value and knowing his story,” Curry said, per CSNPhilly.com. “It was inspiring just to know that you can defy a lot of odds and be yourself while you’re out there on the court playing and changing the game. Everybody used to imitate his crossover moves, obviously starting with the one on [Michael] Jordan and every other one that he did in his career.”
As the son of former NBA player Dell Curry, Steph had the opportunity to watch a large number of games first hand and see some of the past greats on show. The 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals is the moment that stood out the most for Curry while watching Iverson take on his father's Toronto Raptors. In that series, Iverson averaged 33.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 3.1 steals and helped the Sixers win in seven, en route to the NBA finals.
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“My dad was on that Toronto team so we went to the games, watched,” Curry said. “You’d see him out on the floor and you just kind of didn’t think what he was doing was possible. His motor never stopped. His competitiveness and desire out there, he played with so much spirit and passion. You loved watching A.I. play because of what he brought to the table."
Curry's dominance in the league is comparable to what 'The Answer' did during his 15-year career. A.I. won four scoring titles and an MVP award and Curry is now on the verge of adding his first scoring title to the MVP honour and championship ring he won last year. Curry's performances in this campaign have been nothing short of spectacular and he's leading the Warriors to a historic season, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by Iverson himself.
"He's incredible," Iverson said of Curry last month at the Sixers Youth Foundation Gala, per CSNPhilly.com. "He's different. He's something that we've never seen. … It's crazy, me being the biggest Michael Jordan fan, to see somebody come around like this. I have my idea of me being incredible. But this dude right here, it's different. It's a whole different monster."
The Davidson product is widely regarded as the best player on the planet at present and has received plaudits from peers past and present for what he's producing on the hardwood. But praise and recognition from a player he admired as a teenager trumps everything.
“It’s unreal just because I grew up in the game and obviously was a huge A.I. fan and respect everything that he did in his career,” Curry said. “For him to take notice of what I’m doing and have such high praise is kind of surreal just because I remember being glued to the TV or in my seats glued to whatever he did.”