Stephen Curry has changed the game of basketball. That’s indisputable. Yet for some reason, many critics, including former players, insist that Curry’s dominance is more a product of the relaxed rules and analytics of the modern NBA era than his skill, athleticism, determination and work ethic. Some contend that due to his slight build, Curry would be relegated to a spot-up shooter, or at best a borderline All-Star, in a more physical era with less emphasis on 3-pointers.
Well, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is here to tell you those people are wrong. A recent Instagram post asked “How good would Steph Curry be if he had played in the 90s?” with a crafty Photoshopped image of the 6-3 guard about to be blocked by Hall of Famer and 1990s legend Hakeem Olajuwon. James made his opinion known in the comments section, saying “Wouldn’t be Good, He’s [sic] be GREAT!!! Any ERA.”
Of course, there’s no way to actually prove how good Curry would have been in a different decade, but James is a good authority on Steph’s game after playing against him in four straight NBA Finals from 2015-2018. LeBron’s career also began well before the dawn of “pace and space” — during his first NBA season in 2003-04, the average NBA pace was 90.1 and teams shot 14.9 3-pointers per game, which has quickened to a pace of 100.2 with 33.9 3-pointers per game in 2019-20. If there’s anyone who can judge whether Steph would have thrived in a different era, it’s LeBron.
Curry is best known for his all-out assault on virtually every 3-point record in the NBA books, but he’s also shot over 50 percent on 2-pointers for the past seven seasons, including a high of 59.5 percent in 2017-18. LeBron is right — Curry would have been great in any era, and to suggest otherwise is pure naivete.