Steph Curry.

Gary Payton says Stephen Curry should not have been the first unanimous MVP

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Stephen Curry has had one of the best individual seasons in NBA history and he recently topped it off by becoming the league's first unanimous MVP.

The accolade was his second in as many campaigns and came off the back of leading the Golden State Warriors to a record 73 wins in the regular season. 

There aren't many who can question the achievements of the point guard - both collective and individual - or so you would think. 

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Just last week, four-time MVP LeBron James - despite saying Curry deserved his award - created a debate about the true meaning of the word 'valuable' in the term MVP. This was immediately interpreted as the Cleveland Cavaliers star discrediting the work of his rival.

Curry was inevitably asked what he made of LeBron's comments to which he replied: "I've gotten really good at ignoring people..that is the theme of last 2 yrs."

It's a good approach by the three-time All-Star and it appears he'll have to utilise it again after Hall of Famer Gary Payton took exception to Curry becoming the first unanimous MVP in the award's 61-year history.  

There are past and present legends and true greats of the game who never managed to achieve the feat such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron which puts the Dubs star in a class of his own. 

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

Payton, however, believes Curry has benefited from the era he's playing in and claims there are many before him that were also worthy of the same milestone.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the 47-year-old said: “It’s again about era. It’s about who’s voting and what’s going on. I can name a couple guys: Michael Jordan, who had -- they won 72 games. … Why wouldn’t he be a unanimous decision? Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell; I can name a lot of guys that could have been unanimous.

"But that is just what happened. You know? It happened like that. I think all of those guys were unanimous decisions, too. It just happened in an era that it went his way.

"He was the first one to do it. Like I said, I commend him again and what he’s accomplished, but you gotta think about who was voting for Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem and all of them during their time, why in the heck would they not give all their votes to them guys at that time when they’re doing it?”

It's highly unlikely, though, that Curry will lose any sleep over Payton's comments as he has more important things to worry about at the moment. 

He and the Warriors are in pursuit of back-to-back championships and are currently locked at 1-1 in their Western Conference Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a huge game three taking place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday night.

Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Klay Thompson

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