Loving Kobe For Being Bad And Hating Curry For Being Great.

March 12, 2016 |  by  |  Editorial

Truth be told, I haven’t watched many NBA games this season that didn’t include either the Warriors, Lakers or Kristaps Porzingis. Yea, I admit it, I’m a Knicks fan. But you gotta admit, lately there hasn’t been much to talk about in the NBA other than those mentioned above. In fact, the entire 2015-16 season has been one of the strangest years I can remember… and its not even over yet.

Despite the notoriously weak Eastern conference being better than its ever been, the league as a whole has been criticized this year, more than ever, for its lack of competitiveness. This, of course, is a direct a result the dominance of the Golden state Warriors who currently sit at an all time NBA best start of 58-6, which includes a perfect 50-0 home record. Stephen Curry, as the leader and driving force behind the team, is having the type of individual season they make ESPN 30 for 30s about. He’s on pace to win his second straight MVP, Championship and and first ever scoring title. The only player more popular than Curry is Kobe Bryant, but it’s for nothing that has to do with his performance on court.

Kobe and Curry individually make up two of the most permeating story lines in the league, and really of all sports. One is captivating the basketball world with his amazing shooting ability, while the other is making headlines due to his impending retirement and on going “farewell” tour. The two players also represent polar opposites in the game. Curry is young and Kobe is old. The former is just entering his prime, hopefully with many years a head of him, while the latter is over halfway through his last season amounting to whooping 20 years in the game. While Curry is playing better than anyone…. ever kobe, understandably, is playing at his worst ever. But probably the most intriguing way the two contrast is in the amount of Love they’ve received.

As I’ve mentioned above, Curry’s Warriors are boasting an all time great record. They’re even on pace to break that of the legendary 72-10 Bulls from 1996. And just like Mike and company they’re doing it in style, embarrassing teams every night with blow out wins. Meanwhile, Kobe, although his game is nothing to boast about anymore, is selling out arenas wherever he goes just by his mere presence as fans young and old strive to get one last (or first) look at him. The player best known as the Black Mamba, or lately “Vino” might be a shell of his former self and has not aged as gracefully or in any way reminiscent of fine wine but he is more popular and loved than ever before.

Kobe is as embarrassing to watch in hiS final year as defenders caught “on an island” trying to guard Curry. But lately what Kobe and Curry don’t share is admiration or respect from fans, and their peers. Decline in the play of the of Bryant is met with constant Love while hate steadily builds for the Steph.

Curry is having as good of a season as Kobe is having a terrible one (if that makes sense) but it’s somehow Curry people are getting mad at.

Wait…. what?

Its as of the better Curry plays the more the “push back” or criticism he faces. Funny thing is, less than a year ago basketball fans couldn’t find one negative thing to say about Curry, whereas Kobe thrived in negativity from both fans and the media. The man has build an entire career on being a villain to which Curry has been the antithesis.

Lets be real the “evil” Kobe became all part of his image as his career progressed, but even before that he’s been no saint. Kobe was hated coming into the league for his arrogance. Then he had a few rough years. We all remember Colorado. The beef with Shaq. Getting two pieced by Chris Childs. And lately he’s been hated by most his own teammates. He was once even booed by fans in his own hometown. Kobe has always had his share of haters, but then he started to embrace it and so did his fans. Honestly, the Black Mamba getting buckets and not “giving a damn” about what anybody says or thinks is the way we will best remember him, or maybe not?

In his final year the anti-NBA star or the villian persona we all love to hate is gone, and Kobe has done a complete 180. These days the menacing scowl is replaced with a smile. He’s now this likable guy who both the media and and his teammates love instead of fearing. Even self-professed “Kobe haters” like me are warming up to him. Where was this Kobe for the past 19 seasons? We hated him for years when he was arguably the best thing since MJ and now that he’s horrible he wants to play nice guy? Perhaps the greatest feat Kobe;s ever achieved on or off the courts is fixing his image while simultaneously ruining his legacy.

In contrast, Curry is building his own legacy but dominating the game in a way we haven’t seen a guard do since MJ only he’s becoming one of the most hated players in the NBA right now. Ok, ‘hate’ is a strong word, but Curry is getting surely more criticism than any player in the league at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, Steph’s also getting his share of praise, but it also seems the Basketball world have taken a more critical eye at him despite having an amazing year. He’s breaking all types of 3 point records shooting beyond the arc better than ever most of them from distances further than ever in NBA history.

But “its just luck” though.

At least that’s what some say. Either that or defenses aren’t guarding him, right?

Its crazy enough watching how Kobe is being celebrated while being old, bad and losing, but the way Curry is being hit with criticism for being great and winning is laughable. Its one thing to forgive Kobe for playing bad, but why not accept Curry’s greatness?

Oh, I get it.

Maybe it’s coming too easy for Curry. It all happened to fast, and too perfect. No one can believe it. It shouldn’t be possible. And nobody not even a die hard Curry fan saw it coming.

The demise of Kobe is not what anyone prepared for or predicted either. It came out of nowhere. Perhaps the only way to react to it or accept it is with love. He was just the best player in the league not that long ago, And the most delusional Laker fans will tell you he still is. But seriously, seeing Kobe finally become human and fail, and for a whole 82 game season is probably the best way his career can end. It’s humbling to Kobe and gratifying for both his fans and especially the haters.

Speaking of “Kobe haters”, while I still hate Kobe with a passion, I love seeing old Kobe get what’s only been coming to him since the day he stepped foot in the league and immediately thought he was better than Jordan. He’s no Jordan, we see that now, but still overall has had a great career. However, he wont be getting 6 rings or go down as the greatest to ever play the game and that brings a smile to my face. The best part about it is Kobe himself actually accepts it.

Kobe knows he’s done and knows he wont ever win again, not like he did with Shaq, or Pau. Even he admits he “sucks” on a nightly basis. How can you hate on that? Yea hes still the same selfish, arrogant, mean guy that thats making 20 million this year alone, but he’s no longer a threat to MJ or anyone else legacy or any player on the court with him at anytime this season…. other than his teammates. And thats why I personally Love watching him this season. It’s good to see karma catch up with him in the end.

So the world loves Kobe because he’s bad. That’s understandable. We can relate now that Kobe is just like the rest of us, probably even worse. But in Curry’s case how can fans hate on greatness? Is it just part of what comes with success?

To quote Biggie, “with mo money comes, more problems”. Call it jealousy or envy, but with success comes a price. Curry isn’t much richer than he was last season, but he is more popular now than ever. He’s more loved than ever as well, but this love has come with its portion of haters. Good always comes with a little bad, it’s just a fact of life.

They also say with great power comes, great responsibility and with the type of year Curry’s having theres bound to be a big microscope on him. Off the court he’s good; a perfect role model. And forget about coming at him or his family. The Currys are practically the “First Family” of the NBA. But concerning his game? I knew they’d eventually find something not to like about the bay areas Golden Child.

It’s just unfortunate that it had to happen to Curry because deep down he’s probably the most innocent dudes out there. Just last year he was one of the most loved individuals in the game.
But with a few shimmies, a raise the roof, a no-look three every now and then, a dance move if your lucky, and now he’s cocky and disrespectful.

The exact reason people are starting to dislike Curry is the opposite of why the league loves Kobe now: humility. In the infamous voice of DJ Khaled, “they don’t want Curry to celebrate”.

Curry, as big as he’s getting, still hasn’t shaken the underdog image from years ago. He is still seen as that that small, quiet, meek guy. But you know what they say about the meek, right? Now that Curry is on top of the basketball world, having fun and showing out a little bit it’s starting to rub fans the wrong way.

Even some of the NBA greats are coming out the woodworks to criticize Curry and even have gone as for as to discredit his actual game. Most notably, Mr. Triple Double himself Ocar Robinson had this to say regarding why Curry is playing so well.

In Curry’s defense, you gotta be doing something right when the older generation of NBA legends paying attention. I think Steph wins this feud by default.

These are all valid points from the “Big O”, though. As good as Currys been, it’s the league thats not defending him well. Further, his teammates are helping him greatly by often setting (illegal) screens, playing good defense to free him up for easy buckets as well as moving the ball, etc…, and the list goes on. But Curry as the focal point of the team is getting the all the credit and the blame along with it.

If I was an NBA guard, retired or not, I’d be mad at curry too if he was breaking my records, and moving up the ranks of all time list. Like Kobe used to be, Curry is a threat not just to opposing defenses or players legacies, but even to fans everywhere. I’d go even as far to say he’s a threat to the game. No doubt, he’s changed it. But some say he’s out right ruining it by taking 10-15 threes any given night often from 30 feet and beyond. Only problem is he’s making them.

People fear what’s different and what they don’t understand. Theres never been a shooter like Curry or a team like the Warriors and it’s got some in the basketball world looking for explanation. Too bad they’d rather criticize one of the best players in the game than celebrate him. But thats the nature of sports; one day they love you, the next day they hate you.

Let’s learn something from how everyone is treating Kobe right now, and appreciate both him and Curry. When Steph’s career is over all people will focus on is the good things, which will probably include what he’s doing right now. Hopefully, like Kobe he’s got a long career ahead of him full of no look threes, shimmies, and a lot less hate.