Jordan, still early in his rookie year, already had a run-in with the NBA due to a violation of the league’s prescribed basketball shoe laws. Curry, on the other hand, had to overcome size and injury issues in the first three years in the NBA.
Through adversity and uncertainty, both players stuck with their teams and proved their worth to their respective fan bases.
On an episode of "The Colin Cowherd podcast," The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson explained why these legends have unmatched adulation from the teams they played for:
"Jordan was born in rebellion, beefing with the league about wearing black socks and the wrong colored shoes. He was a rebel from the beginning, he was an underdog from the beginning.
"Those of us who would fight on the streets for him? We were the ones who remember where he was getting fined for black socks and baggy shorts, right?
"Steph [was] the same way. The injuries, [he] wasn't supposed to be much coming out of Davidson. You get to keep that credibility that unaccrued adoration when you stay home."
Fans identified with Michael Jordan and Steph Curry because they stayed with the respective teams that drafted them despite early challenges.
Jordan wasn’t just beefing up with the NBA. He also had to overcome a serious injury in his sophomore year. For a player known for his athleticism, that injury could have derailed his career.
Curry, on the other hand, wasn’t the sensation that “His Airness” was when he entered the NBA. He wasn’t even considered the best point guard in the 2009 draft and was passed over twice by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Two other playmakers, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, were picked before the skinny standout from Davidson.
Fans adored them because they overcame their obstacles and uncertainties and went on to lead their respective teams to basketball glory.
Michael Jordan and Steph Curry are two of the most influential players in NBA history
Michael Jordan has become the shining beacon of players wanting to “be like Mike.” His influence has pushed the late Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and many others to pattern their game after “His Airness.” MJ has also inspired countless others to take up the sport and be great.
LeBron James, Jordan’s rival in the G.O.A.T. debate, was inspired by no less than the tongue-wagging and charismatic Chicago Bulls icon.
Meanwhile, Steph Curry has changed the way the game has been played over the last decade or so.
His unmatched three-point shooting has forced teams to look for players with more or less the same skills. There’s so much more spacing and movement in the NBA because of “Chef Curry.”