Recently, ESPN released a list of what they believed were the most influential players in
basketball history. This list, stacked with all sorts of basketball legends, included names like George Mikan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and many more. When reading the list, it all seemed pretty spot on until the top 10. The top 10 was less of a list of influential players, and more like a ranking of the best players ever. The biggest debate that would come from this list, has to be the player ranked at number 10: Stephen Curry.
Stephen Curry is if not THE MOST influential player of all time, then at least the second
behind only Michael Jordan. Since his entrance to the league, Curry has almost singlehandedly changed the way the game is being played through his 3-point shooting. To be a successful team in the league now, it is absolutely necessary to have good, if not great, shooters in the regular rotation.
Since Curry’s debut in the 2009-2010 NBA season he has won 2 MVP awards, 2 NBA
Finals, and made 4 NBA All-Star game appearances. He did all of that while obliterating the single season record for 3-pointers made (twice) and holding a career 43.6% when shooting from beyond the arc (basketball-reference.com). Curry went 7 th overall in the 2009 NBA draft, the same year the Lakers won the NBA draft. Via teamrankings.com, that year the Lakers finished on top while averaging just under 19 3-point attempts per games. The highest in the
league at the time was the New York Knicks with 28 per game. Now, in the 2018 season the best team in the league record-wise, the Houston Rockets, are averaging 42.3 3-point attempts per game, more than a 100% increase from the best team in the league the year before Curry was drafted. This is no coincidence, Stephen Curry’s success with shooting changed the way the game must be played to win for years to come.
Curry’s influence on basketball did not just change the way basketball is played in the
NBA, but also how college, high school, and even playground basketball players play. Anybody can see this evidence, just by walking into their local gym and watching kids shoot around. Nobody is saying, “I want to play like Shaq” and turning around working on their moves with
their back to the basket. It is all “I want to shoot 3’s like Curry” and then shots fly towards the net from beyond the arc.
While the rest of ESPN’s top 10 most influential basketball players are obviously
legendary and deserve their spot on and all-time greats list, none of them should be above Curry on a list solely based on influence.
You can check out the list yourself at
http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/page/nbarank22932314/nbarank-game- changers-25- most-
Picture from: https://www.sfchronicle.com/warriors/article/Stephen-Curry- s-shot- a-thing- of-
Written by: Aidan Meissler