Gary Payton questions Stephen Curry being named first unanimous MVP
Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton became the latest former NBA player to question the true legitimacy of Stephen Curry being named the first-ever unanimous winner of the MVP award, arguing it is more “about era” than anything else.
Payton specifically said during a recent interview that the likes of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, probably deserved being named unanimous MVPs, but it call came down to who was doing the voting in their eras.
“I commend him and what he’s accomplished,” said Payton, via SI.com, by way of ESPN. “But you gotta think about who was voting for MJ, Kareem, in their time, why they wouldn’t have given all their votes to those guys.”
Payton also singled out Wilt Chamberlain as being deserving of being named unanimous MVP following the 1961-62 season, an epic campaign where he averaged an astounding 50.4 points per game.
“You didn’t think he was a unanimous decision?” Payton asked.
The Golden State Warriors sharpshooter of course received all 131 first-place votes. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James came in second and third place, respectively. Speaking of James, Payton makes the case that he is probably the true MVP of the league overall.
“If you look at LeBron, what he does for his team, he does everything,” Payton told SiriusXM, via the Bay Area News Group. “I still think he’s the best all-around basketball player. As we say, Stephen Curry was the best player this year, but I’m saying all around — who gives you assists, who gives you rebounding, who gives you points, who does a lot of things for his team to have it? If you take LeBron off that team, I don’t think Cleveland is a good team like that. If you take Curry off of it, uh, right now I don’t know. They probably would win games. They wouldn’t have won 73, but they would win a lot of basketball games.”
It seems like it’s every week that a former “old-school” NBA star from a bygone era comes out and questions Curry and his impact upon the game, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson among them. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter what the naysayers say, what’s done is done and Curry was the first unanimous MVP of the Association.