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Stephen Curry: Giannis Calling Me Best Player in NBA Won't 'Soften Me at All'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 25, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 12: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks plays defense on Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors on March 12, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images

Stephen Curry isn't about to fall for any gamesmanship, even if he appreciates the compliments.

Giannis Antetokounmpo may be the best player in the world in the eyes of some, but the Milwaukee Bucks star told reporters he believes the best player is "the last one standing."

The last one standing during the 2021-22 campaign was Curry, who led the Golden State Warriors to their fourth title in eight years. He also took home the first NBA Finals MVP award of his career thanks to his performance in the victory over the Boston Celtics.

"I don't know if it was gamesmanship," Curry told reporters when asked about Antetokounmpo saying he was the league's best player. "I would've said the same thing about the champions... I said the same thing about him last year. I appreciate the compliment. It's not going to soften me at all."

It was Antetokounmpo's Bucks that won the title the previous season with the superstar cementing his legacy with 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in a Game 6 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Yet the Warriors bounced back from injury-marred campaigns for Curry and Klay Thompson to add another championship to their modern-day dynasty.

Despite Curry's status as the reigning champion and NBA Finals MVP, ESPN believes he is the fifth-best player in the league heading into the 2022-23 campaign. Antetokounmpo came in at No. 1 in the publication's ranking, just ahead of back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokić at No. 2 and Luka Dončić at No. 3.

It wouldn't be a surprise if the Bucks and Warriors ended up facing each other in the 2023 NBA Finals, and the Curry vs. Antetokounmpo debate would be the biggest storyline.

By their own standards, the winner of such a hypothetical matchup would get a claim as the top player in the NBA heading into the 2023-24 season.

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