As the child of a former NBA player, Steph Curry is neither new to the world of sports nor to the spotlight. Although his marriage to Ayesha Curry has always attracted media attention, the basketball star has remained largely controversial throughout his career. Unlike his longtime Golden State Warriors teammate, Draymond Green, his playstyle isn’t fraught with antics and his interviews aren’t as scandalous. But not everyone has been a fan over the years.
A disappointing end to the 2021 season had many wondering if the Warriors dynasty was over. “You don’t want to see us next year,” a heated curry promised the doubters. As the star kicked off the 2022 NBA season, it was clear he was now playing with a chip on his shoulder. He broke the three-point record, brought his team back to the finals and added a missing piece to his illustrious resume.
This eight-time NBA All-Star has won four championships, and there have been plenty of people who have come up against him along the way. Curry has become feuding with his peers, coaches and… a former president. Here’s a rundown of his toughest opponents.
His friendship with Kevin Durant isn’t what it seems
You’d think that two players on what some consider to be the greatest team in basketball history would have a great relationship. That doesn’t appear to be the case with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, however. When Durant made the decision to leave The Warriors in 2019, rumors circulated that the player felt overshadowed by his teammate and therefore underappreciated. A year later, an ESPN report said there was tension between the two, with Durant allegedly feeling jealous.
In “The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty” (via NBC Sports), writer Ethan Strauss claimed that Durant was sick of the Bay Area media reporters’ fixation on curry. “[He said that] All of us locals just wanted to kiss Steph’s ass at his expense. That has been KD’s constant complaint,” he wrote. Durant has always publicly denied feelings of jealousy, even addressing the rumors on his podcast The ETCs with Kevin Durant, where he insisted, “I played there for three years. If you haven’t seen the jealousy in court or in the media, why are you trying to make amends?
However, Durant’s words didn’t always match his actions on social media. In addition to his admission of using a Burner Twitter account to defend himself on the platform, he was exposed in 2021 for liking shady tweets about Curry. Despite quick aversion to a tweet Calling it trash, the damage was already done.
Tracy McGrady doesn’t have him in his top 5
Despite winning four championships and influencing a new style of basketball playing, Tracy McGrady still isn’t convinced Curry is as great as the icons before him. The former NBA player’s comments came as the star put on a dominant performance in the 2022 NBA Finals. “We know Steph is like the 3 point god,” McGrady told NBC Sports. “But when it comes to taking him with you [Michael Jordan] and these guys who won these championships; kobe [Bryant] and Magic Johnson, I don’t know where to put him.”
The NBA legend even pondered if Curry was the sole reason The Warriors won those first three championships. He pointed out that during two of the Warriors’ championships, Curry wasn’t named Finals MVP — Kevin Durant was. “KD came and joined the Warriors and became the best player and helped Steph win two more championships,” he explained. “But Steph wasn’t the best player on this team.”
McGrady’s comments drew attention a conversation among fans and sports commentators on Twitter. Curry didn’t directly respond to McGrady’s comments, but as he walked away with another championship and his first Finale MVP award, he made sure to deliver a message to critics who pinched his resume: “Now what are they going to say?”
His former coach thinks he ruined basketball
Mark Jackson was the former coach of the Golden State Warriors until 2014 when the team fired him. It’s no secret that he harbored some grudges against the team afterward – especially as he watched them win multiple championships without him. During the 2022 NBA Finals, Jackson was the main commentator during games and had a few shady comments to get off his chest. When Steph Curry delivered an MVP-level performance, Jackson took the opportunity to jab him and the Warriors. “If I were Steph Curry, I would thank Boston’s defense for the MVP,” Jackson said (via WEEI), insinuating Boston’s terrible performance that gave Curry an easy win.
But it wasn’t the first time Jackson attacked the star. In 2015, he publicly said Curry’s famous style of basketball had a terrible impact on aspiring ballers. “He hurts the game,” he said during another comment session (via For The Win). “And what I mean by that is I go to these high school gyms, I watch these kids, and the first thing they do is they run to the 3-point line. You’re not Steph Curry,” Jackson said during another broadcast. Curry, who has kept all comments about his former coach positive, took it in stride. “I need to speak to him,” he told Yahoo Sports (via Bleacher Report). “I don’t know what he means by that. If you can shoot, shoot. If you can’t, stop.”
Yes Morant did not flinch from him
Former Rookie of the Year Ja Morant is not only known for his gravity-defying dunks and grid dances, he’s also known for not flinching at his opponents. In 2020, Morant and the young Grizzlies team had some choice words for Andre Iguodala after the veteran player looked to leave his team. Teammate Dillion Brooks bluntly told reporters (via NBA), “A guy that’s on our team doesn’t want to be on our team. I can’t wait until we find a way to trade him so we can play him and really show him what Memphis is all about.” Morant echoed those sentiments further Twitterwith a cheeky emoji of approval.
It wasn’t long before Iguodala’s longtime friend and teammate Steph Curry chimed in to defend him. On Twitter, sportswriter Rachel Nichols shared a screenshot of an Instagram Stories post of Curry, which she captioned, “And now Steph gets involved.” The post included a picture of the three-time champion holding the NBA Finals trophy with a dodgy emoji held. Morant responded in his own petty way, responding with a photo of former Warriors player Kevin Durant holding the Finals MVP trophy – a jab at Curry, who was yet to win one.
The rivalry between the two players was even more evident in the 2022 playoffs. There was plenty of trash talk as the two teams went head-to-head — including Curry’s infamous “Oops, that trick‘ The game plan quickly backfired. This is an NBA rivalry that is sure to make for more epic moments.
Michael Jordan snubbed him
It’s hard being like Mike, but getting his approval is even harder. Steph Curry learned the hard way after NBA legend Michael Jordan commented on his career on an episode of Today. In 2019, the man many call The GOAT praised the stars of his generation. When Curry was dropped, Jordan responded, “He’s still a great player but not a Hall of Famer yet.” The Hall of Famer comment followed by the infamous Jordan giggle felt like a shove. Although many claimed this was just another moment Jordan was competitive, it was clear that Curry wasn’t very happy about it.
“I love MJ, he’s obviously the GOAT,” he told ESPN. “…I’m sure if you ask him that question now…he’ll probably have a different answer.” Curry pointed out that Jordan’s statement included the word “yet,” implying he has the potential to achieve that goal. That same year, he jokingly referred to Jordan as one of his haters during an episode of Sole Collector.
In 2021, the couple sat down for an interview at the Ryder Cup, where he apparently confronted Jordan about his earlier comments. Curry told The Athletic NBA Show that he confronted Jordan about his earlier comments – apparently it was the first question he asked. The answer? “He said, ‘First ballot Hall of Famer, no problem.’ That’s literally what he said,” Curry revealed.