Steve Kerr Says Kids Relate to Stephen Curry More Than Michael Jordan, OthersJanuary 26, 2017
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that guard Stephen Curry is more popular with children than former teammate Michael Jordan was during his prime.
"The crowd size is similar, but the biggest difference is the children that gravitate toward Steph," Kerr said before the Warriors' game against the Jordan-owned Charlotte Hornets, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "You see so many little kids with Steph jerseys begging for his autograph."
Jordan is widely regarded as the most popular and best basketball player in NBA history. Kerr said the differences between Jordan's and Curry's physical traits make Curry more relatable to young kids.
"They all identify with him," Kerr said. "He's probably the rare superstar where an eight-year-old kid can go, 'He looks just like me. Maybe I can do it.'"
At 6'6", 195 pounds, Jordan was a prototypically sized shooting guard with preternatural leaping ability and athleticism. He rose to international fame based not only on his scoring prowess but also his performance in dunk contests and in-game feats of astonishment—perhaps most notably taking off from the free-throw line for a dunk in 1988.
While Curry shares Jordan's scoring prowess and ability to transcend the sport, he does so without elite leaping ability or highlight dunks. Curry has helped spearhead the NBA's three-point revolution, leading the NBA in threes made in each of the last four seasons and setting records in each of the last two. He has won each of the last two MVP awards.
The relatability factor is higher for Curry than LeBron James, who's widely considered the best player since Jordan. James is a generational athlete, equipped with a 6'8", 250-pound frame and the athleticism and speed of a guard. He was pegged for superstardom as a high schooler, while Curry received tepid interest from major schools before playing college ball at Davidson.
"He is relatable being 6'3" and baby-faced," teammate Kevin Durant said, per the AP. "When he was in high school, he was probably 6'0" and 160 [pounds], and to make it to be one of the top five players in the world, well, it feels like anybody can do it. He's inspirational."
James (34.1 million) boasts more than four times as many Twitter followers as Curry (8.1 million), so perhaps Kerr and Durant are overstating the latter's international popularity. Sales of Curry's latest signature shoe for Under Armour also underperformed market expectations, per ESPN.com's Darren Rovell.
Not even James can escape Curry's shadow in his own household, however. He told ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin last year that his son Bryce wears Curry's No. 30 jersey instead of James' No. 23.
"To be a guy that they look up to or they want to play like or emulate on the court is pretty special," Curry said, per the AP. "To know that you have support from the next generation that is getting into the game and that you have a huge influence on them—I definitely appreciate that."