One NBA legend has quite a lofty comparison for Steph Curry.
Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing opened up about the impact the Golden State Warriors guard has had during his time in the league, saying he was able to change the game just like Michael Jordan did before him. Speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Chris Mullin, Ewing said that Curry’s sharp-shooting style of play opened the game up for other players to take more three-pointers, comparing it to the impact Jordan had on the game.
Ewing Explains Comparison Between Curry and Jordan
Ewing, a rival of Jordan in the 1980s and 90s, recognized how Jordan’s style changed the game and influenced a generation of players. He believes Curry is now doing the same.
For Jordan, the change was above the rim, Ewing said. For Curry, it’s beyond the arc.
“Steph, like Michael, changed the game,” said the New York Knicks legend. “You got guys shooting those deep shots and doing the things that he did. Michael changed it by all the dunking he was doing.”
There is plenty of evidence to back up Ewing’s assertion. The Sporting News noted back in May that while Curry is setting NBA records for three-pointers, teams across the league are hitting from beyond the arc at a dramatically higher clip.
“It’s not just Curry, though. The average number of 3-pointers made per game has been a league record in each of the past eight seasons,” the report noted. “Furthermore, the rate of 24.3 combined 3-pointers made per game in the NBA this season is more than twice that from 2005-06 (11.5).”
As the report added, Curry is in a class by himself when it comes to three-pointers. Before he was drafted in 2009, only four players had hit 11 three-pointers in a game, and none of them had done it more than once. During his 12-year career, Curry has already hit that mark eight times.
Ewing’s First Impressions of Curry: ‘He Kicked Our Butt’
Ewing said he first saw Curry up close when he was a sophomore guard leading Davidson on an unlikely run in the NCAA Tournament back in 2008.
At the time, Curry was leading the No. 10 Wildcats to a victory over No. 2 Georgetown in the second round of the tournament. Ewing’s son, Patrick Ewing Jr., was a forward for the Hoyas and the Knicks legend had a front-row seat to watch Curry.
As Ewing recalled, Curry was on fire that game.
“Georgetown played [Davidson] and my son was on the team so I went to the game. He kicked our butt,” Ewing said.
Curry scored 30 points that game, including 25 in the second half, to overcome a 17-point second-half deficit. Still, Ewing said he had no idea the player that Curry would go on to become in the NBA, and credits his incredible work ethic.
“I still didn’t think he would the player that he became. I take my hat off to him,” he said. “He’s definitely a student of the game, he’s worked at his craft and he has those guys playing together as a team.”