For most people, turning 28 years old can feel unimportant. When people turn 27, there’s always some tired joke about Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and whomever else you wanna wedge into the 27 Club. Turning 28, on the other hand, just means you survived. For those romantic rabble-rousers who self-identity with Rimbaud, can’t understand why Lawrence Ferlinghetti was never named poet laureate, and believe overindulgence transforms an artist into an artiste, turning 28 morphs into a wake up call of sorts. It’s time to get on with life, basically. That’s what 28 means for the rest of us.
But for professional athletes, turning 28 means you’re fully in your prime — your prime’s prime, in fact; the apogee, the zenith, the high water-mark of an athlete’s career. They’re not yet feeling the aches, pains and gravity of old age, but they’re mature enough to have reached a physical and emotional summit. Today, March 14, Steph Curry turns 28.
Steph has probably transformed into the best basketball player on the planet. Yes, Chuck thinks differently, and so does Oscar and a — likely sardonic — Phil and [insert a former player, here]. And yes, LeBron is still LeBron. But a lot of people concede that Steph is the best player in the world. We agree.
But we’d like to pinpoint when this groundswell of support for Steph happened. As early as last June, most of us were still calling LeBron the best. Curry was the game’s best shooter, but his purported shortcomings on defense and occasional sloppiness with the ball prevented him from achieving best in the world status.
But his defense has improved, which we tried to show readers late in his inaugural MVP campaign, and his simple presence is enough to bend the defense and open up all sorts of lanes for his teammates.