Warriors

Steph Curry: Better ambassador than Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, etc.

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Steph Curry: Better ambassador than Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, etc.

Programming note: Warriors-Hornets coverage starts today at 3pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Steph Curry returns to his hometown Wednesday with a perfect record and, moreover, an impeccable biography that twinkles brighter by the day.

He’s the reigning NBA MVP and great teammate who somehow has improved. He’s the leader of the defending champion Warriors, who on Wednesday night can lift their record to 20-0 with a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Curry also is, by all accounts, the fabulous husband, the wonderful father, the good soon, the splendid sibling and the exemplary role model.

His personal and professional stories keep getting better, though, as two events this week created even more distance between Curry and even the most impressive of his contemporaries.

The first occurred Sunday, when Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant announced his plan to retire at the end of the season. This represents another symbolic passing of a torch into the hands of Curry. Just as the retirement of Steve Nash last spring left Curry the official king of floor leaders, Kobe’s decision will create even more space for the expansion of Curry’s growing profile.

The second event occurred Monday, when star forward Kevin Durant ripped into the media for its depiction of Kobe’s decline. Some may be taking glee in Kobe’s fall, but those true to the game surely feel more melancholy than joy. Didn’t matter to KD. He sprayed everyone, dropping a couple unprintables in the process.

Once universally beloved, KD seems oddly intent on generating drama. It’s as if the Thunder forward decided sometime last season to shed his image of maturity and politeness for one that projects a man who goes gangsta.

Which brings us back to Curry, for he meets or exceeds the entertainment bar that was set so high by Michael Jordan and met in most ways by Kobe. Michael’s rise made us fantasize about dunking. Kobe’s rise made us all want to believe we’d make every shot, particularly in the clutch.

The comprehensive purity and grace of Steph’s game has surpassed that of KD and, in most ways, of LeBron James.

Steph’s rise has tilted planet basketball toward the 3-point shot and the joy it brings. He glamorizes the trey every bit as well as Michael did the dunk while also exhibiting Kobe’s capacity for embracing and succeeding in big moments.

But there is something else that sets Curry apart. He has become a better hoops ambassador than any of them. Better than Michael, better than Kobe, better than LeBron, better than KD. He does as they did but with a wink and a smile that belies his ultracompetitive ruthlessness.

It’s as if Steph Curry leaped off the pages of a storybook.

He signs dozens of autographs at every arena, home and away. He poses for selfies, home and away. He gives honest answers to postgame questions, reasonable or not. He won’t hesitate to pull up, with his wife sitting in the passenger’s seat, to the Chick-fil-A drive-thru and order a sandwich. The list of charities in which he participates is longer than the lines awaiting those autographs.

Steph is a “regular” guy who does amazing things on and off the court.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers this week penned an essay for Sports Illustrated in which he expresses his opinion that Curry, nominated for the magazine’s annual Sportsman of the Year award, should win it. I read it, nodding throughout.

“Combine all of his traits and you have a person that is elite in every way,” Myers wrote. “Everything he does is with the highest character. He’s a great husband, father, son, brother, friend and teammate. He’s a joy to be around.

“He has a daughter the same age as mine and I’ve gotten to see how he approaches fatherhood and how he treats his wife. It’s beyond imaginable. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s the guy you hope your daughter marries.”

The NBA – hell, the sports world – belongs to Steph Curry and he will feel the love Wednesday night when he enters Time Warner Cable Arena, in the city where he grew up, on the night his father, Dell, will be honored by the Charlotte Hornets.

Nash is gone. Kobe is leaving. LeBron is on the far side of his prime. KD’s easy charm is turning sour. Center stage belongs to Steph. He’s the guy having fun, the naturally complete package, ready for what lies ahead.

NBA 2K19 drops first look at LeBron in a Lakers jersey

NBA 2K19 drops first look at LeBron in a Lakers jersey

Beyond the photoshops of frenzied Los Angeles Lakers fans, we now what LeBron James will look like when he suits up against the Warriors and the rest of the West in his new threads.

Well, what he'll virtunally look like, at least. 

Ahead of the release of NBA 2K19, the video game basketball behemoth tweeted a first look at James in the Lakers' white jersey.

The King also voiced his approval on Instagram. 

James will be featured on the cover of the "20th Anniversary Edition" of NBA 2K19 this fall. This all just leaves one question.

Is #StephBetter?

How Jonas Jerebko earned the nickname 'the Swedish Larry Bird'

How Jonas Jerebko earned the nickname 'the Swedish Larry Bird'

The newest member of the Golden State Warriors is known for his shooting stroke.

Jonas Jerebko is a career 36.3 percent 3-point shooter, and the 31-year-old shot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc with the Utah Jazz last season. That ability earned him a very flattering nickname from his former bosses: Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge and owner Steve Pagliuca. 

Ainge acquired the Swedish sharpshooter from the Detroit Pistons in February 2015. When he was asked if Boston would re-sign the Swedish sharpshooter at his end-of-season press conference that year, Ainge compared him to a longtime teammate.

"The Swedish Larry Bird, you mean?" Ainge jokingly replied, according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg. 

Ainge and Bird played together for parts of eight seasons, winning NBA championships together in 1984 and 1986. Bird, of course, is a Basketball Hall of Famer who led the NBA in made 3-pointers in the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons, and finished in the top 10 in four other seasons. Bird finished his career as a 37.6 percent shooter from deep. 

Jerebko played with the Celtics for parts of three seasons, and he took the tongue-in-cheek comparisons to a Boston legend in stride. 

“I laugh about it,” Jerebko told the Providence Journal in February 2016, “like everybody else. I don’t dislike, I don’t like it. People can say whatever they want. It’s not like I’m going to go home and tell them I’m the Swedish Larry Bird. If people think it’s funny and they like to say it, go ahead, but it’s not like I’m going to call myself that or use that nickname in any manner.”

On a team that features Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Jerebko probably won't draw comparisons to any Warriors legends. Plus, DeMarcus Cousins already has the title of third Splash Brother locked up.