By Bob Hiller –
I have a slight infatuation with watching Stephan Curry play basketball. Watching him shoot from every angle on the court and make shots in the most clutch situations evokes a sort of childlike joy for me. His shot is so undeniably perfect that I think I can formulate an argument for objective truth from it. He has been the Association’s brightest star for the better part of two seasons and rightfully won the NBA MVP this year. He just flat schools everyone he plays. As the great Dan Patrick used to say, “You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him.”
There is not much to argue with in giving him the award, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to pick the fight. Since the award went out, arguments abound over whether or not LeBron James should have received the award instead of Curry. When that conversation doesn’t gain much traction for sports talk hosts, they begin to ask some more provocative questions, “Do you think Curry could have won the award ten years ago in the NBA? What about if he had played in Michael Jordan’s era? Would he have been as good then as he is now?”
Oh, and these questions just open the floodgates!
Now, you have former players coming out and saying that they played in a tougher era in which a small guy like Curry would have been eaten for lunch (that was not a Thai food joke). I heard one radio show say that Curry only benefits from today’s rules. “Today’s basketball is too soft,” they say. “He wouldn’t have lasted when the league allowed guys to play rougher. Basketball used to be tough and physical,” they say. “Sweet-shooting point guards would never have been able to dominate a league.” And former players say in unison, “It’s not like it was in the good old days.”
I hear similar arguments about football and baseball. The new rules make football too soft. There is nothing soft about football Though some rules now help prevent concussions, it is foolish to say that it is a soft sport. Or in baseball, many who have associations with America’s pastime are complaining that today’s players are too showy when they flip the bat or stop to admire their shot after a home run. Their celebrations are disrespectful. It’s not like the good old days when gentlemen played the sport and respected their opponent.
Today’s games are deemed by players of the past as too showy, too soft, poorer in quality, etc. Things were better, you know, when those guys played.
To which I say, stop it! Baseball, basketball, and football were all great back in the day, and they are great now! Watching Curry light up a team is completely fantastic. That kind of shooting should not be undermined by jealous curmudgeons. Seeing ball players celebrate after a crucial hit or great play in the field doesn’t detract from what the game used to be. It reminds us of what it is: a game! It is fun! And let’s be honest, football has never been and is not now soft.
Why do so many feel like they have to compare the game to the past? Why take away from what we have in front of us right now? Why not just let us enjoy what we see? I’m so tired of everyone’s good old days trying to take away from the moments of joy I get to witness today. There is something to be said for simply embracing the moment at hand and enjoying it. There is no need and frankly no benefit to souring the greatness we see before us now. Let’s just stop overthinking sports. Let’s think fondly of that which was great in the past. Let’s enjoy that which is great in the present and look forward to what will be great in the future. I’m tired of everyone’s good old days ruining the joy of the present. Enjoy the game you’re watching for what it is. If you need some help, just watch Steph Curry.