Stephen Curry: the most influential basketball player of all time

Stephen Curry: the most influential basketball player of all time

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James: all of those names come to mind when you think of the greatest basketball players ever; however, when the question turns into who is the most influential of all time, there is only one name that comes to mind: Stephen Curry.

Curry may not be the best all-around player ever or the best rebounder ever, but that doesn’t matter. In the dictionary, influence is defined as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.” For Curry, since he entered the NBA, he has had a major influence on the game of basketball and changed the game for the better.

Sports Analyst Colin Cowherd agrees, stating, “Literally, all of basketball is different because of Steph Curry. High school, AAU, college, pro, international–Steph Curry.”  

When looking at influential players, you have to take a few things into consideration. First, you have to look at innovation. How much of an impact has the player had on the game of basketball as a whole? Second, it is important to look at how the player has impacted the culture, for example by their brand or shoe sales. Finally, the impact they had while they were playing the game and how creating a legacy plays a huge factor when looking at influence. 

To begin with, let’s start with innovation. Since Curry entered the league in 2009, he has proven to have one extra special talent: shooting three-pointers. Even though Curry has a pretty solid all-around game, it is obvious that he is at his best when he can get to his spot and knock down three-pointers.  Thanks to Curry, the three-point shot has become increasingly more valuable, and teams all around the world, at every level, have begun to make firing from behind the arc the main emphasis in their offense. When Curry was drafted, the average number of three-point attempts per game per team was 18.1. This past season, that average was almost doubled to 35.2 three-point attempts. 

Not only have teams started to shoot more threes, but they have also started to base a player’s worth off the shot. If you are a guard who can’t shoot, your value immediately becomes much lower. On the other hand, if you are a traditional big, but you can shoot from outside, your value skyrockets instantly. Whether the three-pointer has hurt or helped a player’s stock, they can all thank Stephen Curry for that.

I think it is pretty obvious Steph has had a bigger impact on changing the game of basketball than any other player ever, so next, let’s look at how he has impacted the culture. To do this, let’s focus on his branding. It’s no surprise that Curry’s jersey is one of the best-selling jerseys of all time. In fact, in the four-year span from 2015-2018, his jersey was the top seller for four straight seasons, an accolade that no other player in history has accomplished. If you look right now on the NBA website, you can see that currently, his jersey is second in sales, only behind LeBron James. You can also look at Curry’s sports endorsement deal with Under Armour. Before Steph, Under Armour was not really a contender with Adidas and Nike in the basketball world. Now, players all over are wearing Under Armour shorts, shirts, and most notably, shoes. For basketball players, Nike is the dominating brand, but since the rise of Curry, Under Armour is on its way up. This isn’t happening by chance. Kids and players want to be like Stephen Curry, and they do this by wearing his gear.

Finally, it is his legacy. Steph Curry has only played in the NBA for 13 years and is continuing to build his case as one of the best players to ever walk the earth. He has four NBA championships, two MVPs, one Finals MVP, is the all-time leader in three-point makes, and is hands down the best shooter in history. In addition, Curry is showing no signs of slowing down and still has plenty of time to continue to build his legacy. 

It is exciting to know that Curry is at his peak and that he has a long career ahead of him to continue to build his case on why he is the most influential basketball player of all time.