Gilbert Arenas Reveals The Greatest Differences Between The Influence Of Michael Jordan And Stephen Curry

Mary Raleigh
13/10/2023

Former NBA point guard gets real on the influence of Steph Curry and Michael Jordan.

When you think about Stephen Curry, it’s impossible not to factor in his impact on the game of basketball. As the greatest shooter in NBA history, he changed the very fabric of the league and ushered in a new way of playing that remains dominant today. But Steph isn’t the only player to leave a lasting impact on the game, and Gilbert Arenas recently gave another player who may have Curry beat in this area.

As Arenas explained on his podcast, Michael Jordan was arguably even more influential during his day and he set the standard for all who came after him. “Everybody thinks they can be Steph [Curry], everybody wanted to be Jordan. Overall Michael Jordan was the standard of what to be an NBA player was. Michael Jordan made us want to be basketball players. We knew we were gonna get killed or beat up for wearing his shoes but we went out and risked our lives anyway. The reason that there are online shoe sales is because of Michael Jordan.”

Determining the true impact of a player is tough, especially when the players in question have careers separated by decades. In the case of Curry and Jordan, they are two of the best players of all time, so there is no question that they both changed a lot for the league… even if it was in drastically different ways.

Michael Jordan Was The Ultimate Competitor

While having an insatiable desire to win was not unique to Michael Jordan, he brought the competitive spirit to new levels during his height with the Bulls. Despite showing his potential from day one, Jordan never stopped working on his game and used his relentless drive to power a dynasty. As a 6x champion, 14x All-Star, and 5x MVP, Jordan showed the world what it meant to be fully dedicated to winning and it’s a legacy that still stands to this day thanks to projects like ‘The Last Dance’ and Nike’s specialized ‘Jordan’ brand.

“MJ’s a ghost, he’s a myth and that’s the perpetuation of what he’s created,” said former trainer Tim Grover. “And the Last Dance just took it to a completely different level to see how intense he was and how focused he was during one of the most difficult times to win.”

MJ’s fearless attitude and unprecedented dominance earned him unparalleled fame in the 1990s. The fame, of course, was only strengthened by a fearless approach to life and it inspired countless athletes to follow a similar path.

Curry Created The Modern NBA

The evolution of the game and the three-point explosion can be traced directly to the rise of Stephen Curry, whose breakout MVP season put the entire world on notice. Ever since his initial run with the Warriors, the NBA has gravitated toward long-distance shooting and it’s completely changed how the games are played.

Heading into this season, with Curry nearing the end of his prime, nobody is sure what to expect from him or the Warriors but there is no denying their role in the modern NBA landscape. “I’ll say Stephen Curry for this reason,” said Reggie Miller on the impact or Steph vs Jordan. “He’s playing in the age of social media. There wasn’t that when Michael Jordan played. You had to actually watch the games… Stephen Curry is in the digital age.”

While Jordan no doubt set the stage for modern NBA superstars to thrive, Stephen Curry changed the game in a huge way and there’s no telling how much things might be different today had his career played out differently. The same can also be said for Jordan and many of the top superstars we’ve seen over the past 50 years.

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