Is Lebron James the greatest basketball player of all time? Are the Warriors the best team ever? Who knows? The Warriors clinched their third NBA championship in the last four years and that puts them in a very small class of great teams. Lebron on the other hand, seemed to elevate his already brilliant game to another level — prompting about a million debates on whether he is truly the greatest who ever played the game. That kind of speculation is part of what makes sports, and basketball in particular, so much fun. But I came away from the series more impressed with another player, Steph Curry. Although Kevin Durant was selected as the series MVP for the second consecutive year, the player who is most responsible for the Warriors incredible success is Curry. The 6’3″ guard with only modest athleticism has effectively reinvented the game with his ball-handling and three-point shooting. Coming out of high school, Curry had no offers from any major colleges and ended up playing for diminutive Davidson College. Curry entered the league viewed as a fragile, yet talented, combo guard. Several basketball gurus doubted he would become a consequential player and Nike passed on offering him a shoe contract. In a few short years, Curry found his rhythm and was one of the players who recognized that the three point shot was an undervalued weapon in the NBA. It is Curry not Durant, James or Harden who is the most transformational player in modern history. As it stands today, there is no end in sight to the Warriors’ dynasty; and when the smoke and noise settles it will be Steph Curry who will go down as the best in his era.
The NFL markets its brand as well as any enterprise in the world. I heard a comedian once say that the NFL is so popular, it has its own day. NFL football is huge. Each NFL franchise brings in approximately $400M a year in revenue; almost double the annual revenue of NBA teams and 2 ½ times as much as MLB clubs.