Steph Curry is a six-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA champion and a revolutionary figure in the history of the sport, but you wouldn't know that by the amount of criticism he endures.
Curry is going to go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history, but last week, his legacy came into question. He responded by dropping a career-high 62 points on the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Even that performance likely won't stop the doubters from questioning Curry's standing in the NBA.
This week, podcast host Ryen Russillo reacted to Curry's career night and shared a story from a few years ago.
"Working at ESPN, I was always amazed at how many other athletes were anti-Steph," Russillo said on "The Ryen Russillo Podcast" on Monday. "I've always felt Steph was one of the most disrespected stars, at least in this era of any of the sports. It's weird."
Russillo referenced the debate that raged in the NBA a few years ago after Curry won his two MVP awards and pundits started wondering if he was better than LeBron James.
"When he was talked about, and I know I was guilty of this, is he the best player in the world because he put together those MVP seasons and he was just statistically better than what LeBron was," Russillo said. "And now, looking at that five years removed from those kinds of conversations, they seem stupid. Steph's great. I love him. We know that, but he's not LeBron. And LeBron has proved that out more and more.
"LeBron clearly took it personal when those conversations were happening because this is their standing. 'Wait a minute, now I'm not the best player in the world? This guy who is 185 [pounds] is? Are you kidding me? Give me a break. I know he can shoot, but he can't do the stuff I can do.' And at the time, it actually was a conversation. Now, they don't seem like that much of a conversation even though, all respect to Steph, he changed basketball, he changed shot location and he made these shots. [Damian] Lillard is doing it now, but he wasn't doing it when Steph was doing it in the beginning. Although Lillard, which was part of what we saw last night, Lillard saying 'Hey I've been doing the exact same stuff. He was winning.' Well, yeah, no s--t. Again, Steph had better teams. But LeBron took it personal and it felt people who were Team LeBron hated Steph, they loved the 3-1 lead thing and all the content that came from that. So there's been this building point of this anti-Steph stuff that's been going on out there."
With Klay Thompson out for a second straight season and Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn, the noise directed at Curry is going to get louder. Can he guide the Warriors back to the playoffs and into title contention without superstars next to him? Can he score enough with defenses throwing multiple bodies at him?
In seven games this season, Curry is averaging 32.0 points per contest, the second-highest scoring average in the league behind James Harden (33.0).
But the Warriors struggled to begin the season and sit at 4-3 heading into a showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday at Chase Center.
Curry has nothing left to prove in his career. Despite what some think, his legacy is cemented. He has the hardware and stats to back it up. But something tells us that none of that will silence the haters for the rest of Curry's career.