Michael Jordan still makes headlines any time he opens his mouth. One of the best trash-talkers to play the game, it seems like this part of the NBA superstar hasn’t changed in the 16 years since he played his final game.
During an interview with The Today Show, Jordan got on the topic of Steph Curry. What he said, however, shocked many who heard it without context.
Michael Jordan and other old-school NBA players
Former NBA players have a reputation for bad-mouthing the current crop of players and holding them to unfair standards. Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and other older players are far more likely to bad mouth a recent player for their perceived weaknesses than acknowledge their own.
The way that Jordan’s quote was misconstrued in the media played into this. The idea that His Airness would say something like this wouldn’t shock anyone.
After all. Jordan is notorious for talking down to anyone he played against. An entire generation of like-minded players have made it a hobby to say the game has changed for the worst. However, this was not what Jordan said.
Michael Jordan’s quote about Steph Curry
The way Jordan’s quote was presented to those who didn’t see it was as an angry ex-player who was, once again, complaining about the youthful players of today. Those who saw the video, however, note that Jordan was having fun when he said Curry wasn’t an All-Star.
Jordan provided more nuance than many of his contemporaries, stating that when he says he’d play with guys he played with in a pickup game, it’s not a rebuke of the modern era of players; it’s about him going with players he has firsthand experience with.
“I’m going in the trenches. I played against and with all these guys,” Jordan said. “I’m going with who I know. Every single night, their responsibility to go out there and represent greatness, every single night.”
This is when the interviewer asked Jordan if Steph shouldn’t be offended, to which Jordan gave his infamous response. “I hope not. He’s still a great player. Not a Hall of Famer yet, though,” Jordan said, smiling. “He’s not.”
What was presented as a controversial addition to hot-take culture was little more than a joke, but Curry might have taken it a little seriously.
Curry’s initial quotes about Jordan could be seen as offensive, and perhaps they were to an extent. He acknowledged that Jordan’s generation does talk down to Steph and his colleagues.
“When you hear a guy like that who’s the greatest of all time, it’s kind of funny,” Curry said, according to Complex. “Since we’ve been on this stage, we’ve heard a lot of retired guys chiming in on this generation of basketball players and evaluating talent and saying their generation was better and all that.”
During an interview with Sole Collector, Curry was asked if he ever sends shoes to his “haters,” he responded with a tongue-in-cheek, “I might have to send ’em to M.J.”
The extent to which Curry is offended by Jordan isn’t clear. He may be perfectly fine with it. With so many players giving their opinions on the modern generation, it could grow tiresome, even in joke form. Lucky for Curry, Jordan isn’t the hurdle he must clear for the Hall of Fame and the voters will likely be friendly to him after he retires.