There’s no doubt Warriors star Steph Curry completely changed the landscape of the NBA with the way he has perfected his shot from behind the arc.
His influence has become so powerful, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said he might have not made it in the big leagues if it wasn’t for Steph’s impressive 3-ball shooting.
Ahead of the Warriors-Raptors matchup on Saturday, VanVleet gave credit to Steph and talked about how the greatest shooter of all-time personally influenced his game.
“He’s made it possible for me to be in the NBA,” VanVleet told reporters on Thursday. “I’m not sure my career would look the same if I wasn’t allowed to take the threes that I’m allowed to take and work on my game that way to be able to expand my game.”
Coming into the league seven years after Curry, VanVleet recalled watching and studying Curry at Davidson College and his early years in the NBA.
“I remember in college me and my assistant coach would watch their games and study his film and go work out and see how we could implement some of the things,” VanVleet said. “I study all the greats and Steph is definitely one of those guys I’ve taken a lot from to try and add to as best as I could.”
But Curry’s sharp-shooting ability has become a blueprint beyond the pros. Steph Curry has become a household name, and VanVleet has definitely noticed.
“You see it everywhere. You see it consciously and unconsciously. You see a lot of youth sports, if you’ve been in any gym in the past five to 10 years that’s got kids in it, you’ll see the influence there.”
There was the infamous “Kobe!” yell kids would exclaim as they threw a ball of trash away, or kids referring to themselves as Michael Jordan during a pickup game.
And even though those Bryant and Jordan references hopefully never go away, VanVleet said it’s easier for today’s youth to relate to Steph and the way he plays the game.
“He’s the guy. He’s not dunking the ball a bunch, he’s doing things that everyone thinks they can do until you get out there and pick the basketball up. He makes it look so easy,” VanVleet said. “He makes it look like that’s the way you want to play if you could wake up and wish for someone’s ability, it would be that guy. Definitely seeing kids starting at half court and working their way in.”
VanVleet gave his props to Steph but said he would have to save more praise for him until after their game this weekend.
“I gotta get ready to go out there and guard him. He’s a special, special player, unbelievable guy and one of the all-time greats for sure,” VanVleet said.