OAKLAND -– As someone who was a player and also became a general manager, Warriors coach Steve Kerr knows most everything about the NBA comes in cycles, including chirping from the cheap seats.
Each generation scoffs at the next one. So Kerr is not surprised that the Warriors, collectively and individually, continue to be subjected to slights and criticisms.
The latest slings came this week courtesy of Tracy McGrady, saying Stephen Curry’s unanimous MVP vote is a product of a “watered-down” league, followed by Charles Barkley echoing that opinion.
“I don’t know if it’s that the critiquing is that much different from 20 years ago or if it’s just that there are so many more outlets and so many more forums for people to speak,” Kerr said Wednesday, 90 minutes before the tipoff of Game 5 against Portland.
“There were a lot of outspoken people 20 years ago when the Bulls were winning championships. Maybe there weren’t as many opportunities for people to say things, and there weren’t as many people listening.”
Wilt Chamberlain thought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should have been better. In the 1990s, it was Kerr’s Chicago teammate, Michael Jordan, who was being called overrated. Similar comments were thrown at Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Athletes, no matter the sport, tend to believe the era in which they played was better than that which followed.
There was one comment that came from a member of today’s NBA. Cavaliers star LeBron James acknowledged that Curry was a deserving winner of the MVP award but added that the award itself leaves room for interpretation, making clear that MVP and best player are not always synonymous.
“I don’t have any problem with that. LeBron’s absolutely right, that 'most valuable player' can be interpreted multiple ways,” Kerr said. “I read his comments. He said there’s no question Steph deserved it. So I didn’t take that as a slight. It was more of a philosophical comment in my mind, that there are different ways to look at a lot of these votes, whether it’s MVP or some of the others as well.
“I didn’t take it personally and I don’t think our guys mind that much.”