There were some eyebrows raised around the NBA earlier this month when former Nets guard Mike James, now playing for Monaco in the top league in France, was asked on a podcast to list his Top 5 players in the league and declined to include Warriors star Stephen Curry on his list, pointing out that Curry is too “one-dimensional.”
Even Curry himself took note, as he jokingly took a stab at James, referencing having only one dimension in an interview after the comments and admitting he’s “petty.”
But James, who has played only 30 total NBA games for three franchises between 2017 and 2021, is claiming his comments were taken out of context and that he has nothing against Curry personally. He chalked up questioning how Curry gets his points to his advanced, out-of-the-box thinking.
“I think I said a lot of controversial things in general because I think outside the box,” James said on the URBONUS podcast in Europe. “But for some reason, every time I mention Steph Curry, everybody gets mad, and everybody assumes I don’t like him.
“But I think he’s amazing. To be honest, he changed basketball. Like seven years ago, everybody started shooting threes and playing small ball. Not only because of him. Like 75% of him, and then like the other 25% the Warriors. I don’t have a problem with him.”
James Didn’t Include Curry in his Top 5
James claimed his words had been taken out of context and that he had not directly called Curry one-dimensional—rather, James noted, he said how Curry got his scoring is one-dimensional. Sound like a distinction without a difference? Maybe.
The whole thing started because James was asked to name his Top 5 players currently in the league. He is a friend of Nets star Kevin Durant, so he admitted being biased and picking Durant first. He then named LeBron James, Joel Embiid and Giannis before pausing and mentioning Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Curry.
“It’s a little rough for me in that area,” James said, before going with Doncic.
Certainly, a case could be made for the list James made, without Curry. All are great players, though Curry now has four NBA championships, two MVP awards (one unanimous), the NBA’s all-time 3-point record, a career 3-point percentage of 42.8%, and career averages of 6.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds.
Full Context of James’ Comments
Because of that, it’s not exactly fair to call Curry one-dimensional. Despite his defense, it’s pretty clear that’s what James called him. Here’s exactly what James said, so you can decide:
I have to look at your game and how you do it. Steph, how he plays and gets his stuff off, it’s just kind of one-dimensional at times.
Like, he’s not the primary ball-handler a lot, and for a point guard, that kind of bothers me. But he does score off the dribble, so, I mean, he’s a superstar, so at this point, when you’re picking your Top-5, kind of you’re drawing at straws, you’re just kind of nit-picking. I think those other five can do whatever they want to do on any team in the world right now.
If we put Luka (Doncic), (Joel) Embiid, LeBron (James), KD (Durant) and Giannis (Antetokounmpo) on any team in the world, they gonna be whoever they are right there, soon as you put them in there. I don’t know about that for Steph.