In basketball, there has only been two guards in recent years to take over as the face of the NBA, Allen Iverson and Stephen Curry. However, with their unbelievable game, only one of them did it the correct way while the other did it his way.
From their size, they’ve been able to play amongst the giants and make a name for
themselves from their matchless skill set. Iverson was known on the court for his quickness, flashy crossovers and fearless competitiveness o play with players despite his smaller stature. Curry is known for his long-range ability from anywhere, his ability tohandle the ball and his recent success with the Golden State Warriors. Off the court, these two have impacted the NBA and fans differently. Iverson was widely known for his introduction of the hip-hop culture to the NBA and his stubbornness to follow rules and regulations. Curry is considered the golden boy of the NBA. He never gets in trouble, has a clean image and caters to all NBA fans.
From their differences, we can connect Steph’s success in the NBA with the superstructure of the NBA. According to Bobie, Marx states that superstructure is “the social, political, and ideological systems and institutions–for example, the values, art, and legal processes of a society–that are generated by the base, (2009).” The NBA is a reflection of the superstructure of American culture. Values in America are working hard, overcoming, and being cooperative and winning. For the NBA, Stephen Curry is reflectionism for the culture. Bobie states that reflectionism is “a theory that the superstructure of a society mirrors its economic base and, by extension, that a text reflects the society that produced it” (2009). Unlike Iverson, Curry is credited for working hard on his craft, overcoming injuries and achieving the ultimate goal of winning a NBA championship.
For Iverson, he was never what the NBA pictured as its face. He’s from a low-income family in Hampton, VA, had a previous incident with the law due to the infamous event at
a bowling alley and evidently became the face of a generation that the NBA did not want to market to. Iverson not buying into the NBA’s culture brought in his own culture, the hip-hop culture.
On the court, Iverson was entertaining to watch. At 6’0 Iverson, was known for his ability to score and to leave defenders watching from his quick crossover. For certain fans, Iverson was great and seen as a role model, but the league thought differently. His own teammates and coaches viewed Iverson as selfish and uncoachable. He complained about practice, was never seen or heard working on his game, fought with his teammates and almost caused his coach, Larry Brown, to consider an early retirement.
Besides winning, Curry is praised for his image on the court. He’s honored for how coachable he is and how teammates enjoy playing with him. His former Davidson teammate, Lamar Hull, says of Curry in an interview with sporting news, “Steph is a character. He has a great personality and is a very humble person. He has an amazing work ethic, and that is why he is so good today.” His high school coach, Shonn Brown, says of Curry:
“All the things he shows now, he showed then. He was coachable. He listened. He loved to learn. He could make others better. And he could really shoot. He was already the Steph Curry who has become the icon of the NBA.”
Now that Curry is on top of the basketball world, everyone praises him not just for his
wins, but also for his improvements year to year. When you thought Curry could not get any better than last year’s performance in 2015, he worked harder to have a better 2016 campaign. In off-season workouts, Curry would show up 30 minutes before the workout for his own workout while players watched and got ready. His trainer Alan Stein says:
“Success is not an accident. Success is a choice. Steph Curry is one of the best shooters on the planet because he has made the choice to create good habits. “
Off the court, Iverson raged against the NBA and the dominant ideology. From Iverson’s
baggy sweat suits, gold jewelry, cornrows, durags, loud music, fitted caps and tattoos, he brought a new culture of hip hop that slowly boomed with the rest of the league. League commissioner Stern felt players should dress in “business casual” attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business. His choice of clothing made NBA Officials and coaches embarrassed. His coach, Larry Brown, said to a NBA official that he thought of “sending some of the worst-dressed players back to the team hotel.” This led to Commissioner Stern implementing a new NBA dress code.
Iverson, who wasn’t shy of saying how he felt, had strong feeling towards the change. When the commissioner
changed the dress code to business attire, Iverson responded by saying “They’re targeting my generation — the hip-hop generation… You can put a murderer in a suit and he’s still a murderer”. The NBA tried it’s hardest to change the look of Iverson. In the NBA publication, Hoops Magazine, Iverson’s trademark tattoos, earrings, and jewelry were air brushed off. This was the NBA’s attempt of having Iverson conformed to image it wanted to align itself with that also affirmed accepted US ideology.
Iverson was viewed as a headache for the NBA, but that was Iverson. To this day, he doesn’t wear suites, has his braids, tattoos and wears his clothes baggy because that is
who he his. Steph Curry is a role model. On his off days, he spends time at elementary schools, participating in the Make-A-Wish foundation, or donating money to stop Malaria
through Noting But Nets. He donates three bed nets to fight Malaria for every three he makes, and he an NBA record 402 3’s in the regular season. He’s never in any trouble with the law and is seen as the loving family man in commercials with his wife and daughters. He puts his faith first as he always has “I can do all things on his…” Under Armor shoes.
Steph Curry is what it means to be American. He’s a winner, he’s a fighter, he loves his family and he has a strong faith in God. This is why it’s so easy for the NBA to market Steph Curry to NBA fans. Iverson was viewed as a headache for the NBA, but that was Iverson. To this day, he doesn’t wear suites, has his braids, tattoos and wears his clothes baggy because that is who he his.When selected as a finalist for the hall of fame, Iverson is suited in his baggy jeans, reebok shirt, sneakers, fitted cap, and gold chains, while the rest of the finalist are in business casual attire.
When compared, Steph Curry embodies what the NBA wants in a player, and Allen Iverson is everything you don’t want. The attention both players generate on the court is largely due to their unique skills, but it’s the off the court attention that separates the two. Instead of being an opinionated rebel like Iverson, Curry is the NBA’s yes man. He complies with the rules, gets praised by new commissioner Adam Silver, and praised by coaches on how he plays the game. For Iverson, if it wasn’t praise for his style of play, it was disapproval of his ways. His attitude towards the NBA superstructure will always put him as the enemy of the NBA opposed to the hall of famer he ended up being.