There's a growing chorus of prominent NBA players and personalities calling for Steph Curry to be named MVP of the 2020-21 season. Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant was convinced firsthand. LeBron James and other members of the Los Angeles Lakers have publicly advocated on Curry's behalf in the days leading up to Wednesday's play-in game against the Warriors.
If this development has seemed a bit unusual to observers, that's because it is. Though Curry has now long been arguably the most popular basketball player in the world, he hasn't always received the same sort of adoration from those in and around the game.
For instance, when Curry won his first league MVP in 2015, it was James Harden, not Curry, who was voted MVP by the Players Association. In 2016-17, Curry led the All-Star fan voting by an enormous margin, but didn't rank inside the top two of guard voting by the players themselves.
So, what changed? Why now?
NBA TV's Channing Frye has a theory.
"Each player at some point in their career has had to do it 'by themselves,'" Frye told Bleacher Report's Sean Highkin. "If Steph had a bad night, here's Klay [Thompson] who can give you 60. Not that people weren't understanding how great Steph was, but it was, 'Can you do it by yourself?' Which he absolutely is doing this year. So that question, which isn't a fair question, was answered this year."
"As players," Frye added, "we look at how teams have tried to guard Steph this year. They double-team and triple-team the crap out of him and he's still getting 40. It's more of a defensive respect now. Back then, you couldn't double-team him because he had Andre Iguodala and Klay. I wouldn't say it was his fault, people weren't 'hating on him,' I would just say that he fell into that perception that his teammates were Hall of Famers too. For [Golden State] to be eighth this year is pretty much a testament to Steph, and his ability to be dominant consistently."
Though Frye's theory might be valid, it's based on a fallacy. The same people who say Curry has never carried a team to the playoffs conveniently ignore the two seasons before he started winning MVPs as the head of the Warriors' juggernaut.
In fact, it's ironic that the presence of Iguodala, as Frye suggested, led to the proliferation of said fallacy, considering Iguodala was convinced to join Golden State only after witnessing Curry's greatness firsthand when the Warriors upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round in 2014.
So, while it does appear more people are coming around, and for good reason, it still doesn't make sense why it took them so long.