Draymond Green recently aired a podcast discussion with longtime Bay Area News Group Warriors beat writer Marcus Thompson. The chat, meant to publicize the release of Thompson’s book ‘Golden,’ a publication that focuses on ‘the miraculous rise of Stephen Curry,’ eventually moved into touching on several reasons as to why opponents may, upon first glance or listen, dismiss the talents and temerity of Curry, a two-time reigning NBA MVP.
In a snippet from his Draymond Day podcast, Green dives into several legitimate reasons for walking into the gym with significant prejudice against Curry – Stephen’s supposed overuse of the jump shot, his upbringing as the son of an NBA player Dell Curry, his size and the fact that, to hear Green tell it, Curry “ain’t from the hood” – before bringing up almost as an aside the go-to cut about skin tone that we’ll all focus on, entering the first weekend of the 2017 NBA playoffs:
He’s way more than what everyone expected him to be or ever gave him a shot to be. I think most people looked at it like, ‘Ah man, this was a, in quotes, ‘privileged kid’ growing up. Like, how did he become this? He ain’t supposed to become this. It’s supposed to be the guy from the hood that had nothing and had to grind for everything.’
But when you look at Steph’s life. They had money, but Steph wasn’t treated like they had money. He couldn’t watch TV (all the time). He had chores. They didn’t raise them like they were just these privileged kids, which shows why they’ve got two sons in the NBA and a daughter who’s doing great in college. They weren’t raised like that.
People just automatically think that, ‘Man, this guy ain’t from the hood, he ain’t cut like that, he ain’t cut from a different cloth. He’s supposed to be soft and this, that.’ And of course, Steph is light-skinned, so they want to make him out to be soft. So everybody just wanted to make him out to be this soft, jump-shooting guy and he continued to get better and better and better.
(Transcription via The Sporting News.)
Prejudice is prejudice, we all boast our own set of stereotypes to work through before recognizing an individual for his or her humanity, and unless that prejudice develops into outright antipathy or discrimination it’s never the worst thing to at least acknowledge what you and your instinct are going to have to get over, and quickly.
Especially when you don’t want to be made a fool of, as many opponents no doubt were, when the “soft” son of an NBA player develops into a championship-tilting MVP. Curry even developed into the sort of player that sometimes looks underutilized on a Warriors team that was lousy with offensive gifts even before 2014 MVP Kevin Durant was added to the club.
What’s telling for us outsiders, clutching at whatever’s available to us, is how Draymond Green phrased his final summation as to why others might come to this particular camp ready to think comparatively little about Stephen Curry’s game: “And of course, Steph is light-skinned, so they want to make him out to be soft.”
Green’s explainer, if he’s (needlessly) pressed on this further, will be to point out that, “hey, this is just what everyone was thinking.” Prior to the years in which Stephen Curry set the league and NBA record books on fire with his astonishing brand of inside/outside play.
That defense, “everybody’s thinking it!,” doesn’t work all the time. Typically with quotes and technical “observations” that we wouldn’t want to re-quote here because of their sheer stupidity. Draymond Green’s characterization of the dumb NBA opponent thinking little of Stephen Curry’s potential in 2009 because of the color of Curry’s skin (among other, just as significant, upbringing hallmarks), is, unfortunately, probably spot on.
And, unlike most lame “I’m just tellin’ it like it is!”-bleatings, Green doesn’t appear to be speaking for himself by proxy.
He’d be a fool to even as a younger version of himself, with Curry averaging 20 more points than Green (22.9 to 2.9) during Draymond’s rookie year with the Warriors in 2012-13. With Curry leading the Warriors (still somewhat mitigated by the coaching style of Mark Jackson and his staff) to a six-game second round loss to a Spurs team that, in 2013, was a defensive rebound away from winning the title that year.
It’s fair to assume that Draymond Green was quickly disabused of any damning notions, providing he boasted any. In joining the Warriors in 2012-13, Green also hopped onto a team featuring the son of a former No. 1 overall NBA pick (Mychal Thompson) in small-school product Klay Thompson, an all-around demon of a player who won’t be sharing sunscreen tips with George Hamilton anytime soon.
Before charging Green with acting as sympathetic toward the line of thinking characterized in his discussion with Marcus Thompson, understand that Draymond Green’s main animus at this point is probably leveled toward incoming Warriors who don’t rank a former longtime NBA stud as their fathers, and players that probably don’t have to worry about wearing a bonnet in the sun. If your dad wasn’t a proto-stretch power forward on the 1997 Suns, Draymond Green doesn’t want you on the W’s.
Green is once again championing Stephen Curry’s cause, in this podcast and (presumably) throughout Marcus Thompson’s book on Curry’s rise from sweet-shooting Davidson curio to two-time MVP and NBA champion.
Credit Green for bucking NBA tradition, in a move familiar to Draymond, in doing so. You never heard Kevin McHale, James Worthy, Scottie Pippen, Tony Parker or even role players like Bruce Bowen or Kurt Rambis step up to breathlessly detail the ascension of their famous co-workers mid-career. Especially mid-championship run, which the Warriors (understandably) like to think that they’re currently on.
Draymond Green is out to remind us, yet again, that delicate subjects are often best discussed indelicately. If nothing else, the man carries a consistent theme through both his personal, and professional life.
Stephen Curry, meanwhile, cannot be bothered:
Even Dell Curry, standing in the suburban driveway some 20 years ago, can’t teach that.
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