Phoenix Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson has yet to play a single regular-season minute in the NBA.
Golden State Warriors four-time all-star Stephen Curry, meanwhile, has won two championships and been named league MVP twice.
Only one of these guys, however, has decided to critique the other, and it wasn’t the vet.
“Player that I compare least to — probably Steph Curry,” Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, said in a recent video published by Vice Sports. “Just because, you know, he’s known as a shooter. I’m not. He’s small and unathletic.”
Small? Maybe. At 6 feet 3, Curry isn’t one of the bigger men in the NBA. But unathletic? That’s like saying the pope isn’t religious.
Of course, it’s not the first time Curry’s dealt with this particular criticism. It was that same assumption that prevented him from getting a scholarship to play at a major Division I school out of high school, according to the East Bay Times, which also spotted knocks against Curry written on NBADraft.net.
“Far below NBA standard in regard to explosiveness and athleticism,” the website wrote, adding Curry “needs to add some muscles to his upper body, but appears as though he’ll always be skinny.”
Well, despite his physique and lack of quickness, Curry’s done pretty well for himself because, of course, those two characteristics aren’t the only markers of a good athlete. Curry’s been lauded for his superior dexterity, hand-eye coordination, agility and endurance, as noted by the East Bay Times, which caught up with former NBA point guard Steve Nash, an eight-time all-star and fellow two-time league MVP, who compared himself to Curry.
“I knew I was a great athlete,” the future Hall of Famer told the paper, apparently laughing at his boast. “I just knew I wasn’t explosive. But if you put us in a gym and say try this, I’d figure it out. That’s athleticism, too. I had a lot of confidence in my ability to acquire skill. To be agile and fluid and mobile, and my balance. Steph is the same way. His agility, dexterity, his hand-eye. He’s off the charts in so many ways as an athlete.”
Perhaps Jackson needs to open his mind. Or he can just wait to get schooled in person when the Suns meet the Warriors for the first time this season on Feb. 12.