Steph Curry keeps eating em’ up like LL Cool scooping honeys by the Queens Coliseum mall back in the days, but dudes keep playing him short like Bushwick Bill. If I was OKC, I would want to slap the double-neck off Charles Barkley for giving the two-time MVP any extra ammunition going into the Western Conference Finals.
Barkley, who is known for wearing silk and shocking everyone with his candidness, was at it again on ESPN with Russillo and Kanell when he supported LeBron James’ less-than-gracious comments about Steph Curry winning the MVP.
One day after Curry was voted the first unanimous winner in 61 years, James, who finished third behind Curry and San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, told reporters that the criteria for the award can be interpreted in different ways.
James said (via the Associated Press):
"I think sometimes the word 'valuable' or best player of the year, you can have different results," said James, a four-time MVP. "You know, that's not taking anything from anyone that's ever won the award."
"Look at Steph's numbers," he said. "He averaged 30, he led the league in steals, he was 90-50-40 [shooting percentages from the free throw line, field and beyond the 3-point line], and they won 73 [games]. So, I don't -- do you have any debate over that, really, when it comes to that award? But when you talk about most 'valuable,' then you can have a different conversation. So take nothing away from him. He's definitely deserving of that award, for sure."
That’s typical King James hate and double-talk inspired by his ferocious competitiveness. LBJ hates it when he doesn’t control the show and he surely has to be feeling a way about all of the attention Curry is receiving and all of the fans proclaiming that Steph is the best player in the league.
Everything was all good just a few years ago for LeBron. He was the undisputed best basketball player on the planet. He was drawing comparison’s to Magic and Bird and Jordan and was considered the best athlete to ever play the game.
Then Steph started raining jumpers, LBJ downgraded his squad and went to Ohio. That shift and the hiring of Steve Kerr opened the lane for Golden State to begin its mini-dynasty and for Chef Curry to ascend to the top of the NBA food chain.
Curry is used to the shade. He’s also getting used to the love and when guys like Barkley start saying things like "LeBron and Kawhi Leonard are the best (all-around) players in the world, but Steph Curry is the best offensive player in basketball" -- all it does is feed the beast.
(Photo Credit: bigplay.com)
The culprits always say they aren’t disparaging Steph when making these comments, but Barkley knows, like Oscar Robertson knew when he took a shot at Steph earlier this season, that to make that point you have to knock Curry to an extent.
Barkley went on to say that it is Klay Thompson who always guards the opposing team’s best backcourt player. That was his major criticism of Steph.
Let’s stop being passive aggressive here. What these guys want to say is, “ Steph is nice, but not THAT nice.”
It's an opinion that Steph is sure to ingest and use to fuel his current conquest. The greats always need new inspiration. That's how they stay on top.
I’m sure Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are chilling in OKC saying, “Barkley, please shut up.”
These guys never learn. They just keep pushing Curry to new levels. Hate doesn't stop Curry, it only drives him. Criticism couldn’t derail him. His size didn’t inhibit him and he plays with a chip on his shoulder. The last thing Billy Donovan wants is for Curry to ball with an even higher sense of urgency.
If his 17-point overtime scoring binge in Game 4 o the Western Conference semi's against the Trail Blazers didn’t show you how he reacts to challenges, then Barkley will surely find out at OKC’s expense. The NBA's most lethal offensive weapon now has more incentive to go out there mad bombing.
Barkley has some valid points and so does LeBron, but speaking on it in public is kind of shifty. They both say Steph deserves the MVP, but both bring doubt to the league’s unanimous vote by taking little jabs at him.
Looks like Steph has some more work to do. For some, beating LeBron in six games in last year’s finals isn’t enough. With Cleveland 100 percent healthy this go-round, Steph will get a chance to outplay the guy who some respected basketball minds still feel is the best player on the planet, regardless of how many treys Curry hits or MVP’s he collects.
Curry vs. LeBron is the anticipated and desired finale to this NBA season, and it looks like there will be more at stake than just a championship. Title as game’s best baller will also be on the line.