The Golden State Warriors have drawn the ire of diehard NBA fans over the last couple years, but they have been a huge boon for the league's popularity. Despite Golden State running away with the league last season, ratings are higher than they've ever been for NBA playoff games, and the young kids the league wants to make fans for life are all wearing Steph Curry jerseys these days.
But apparently, that fandom hasn't carried over to a slightly older demographic. The NBA's annual rookie survey was unveiled on Monday, and as part of it, the incoming class of rookie players was asked to answer the usual gauntlet of questions, like who they thought would win Rookie of the Year and what they thought their biggest weaknesses were as players. But the focus wasn't all on their own abilities, and one question, in particular, inspired an interesting set of answers.
Asked, "Who is your favorite player in the league?" the rookies submitted a pretty diverse set of names, with LeBron James (31.5 percent), Russell Westbrook (19.4 percent), and Kawhi Leonard (8.3 percent) leading the pack. But curiously, not one single player in the group of 39 players polled selected Steph Curry, a two-time NBA MVP and one of the most unique players the league has ever seen, as his favorite player.
On its own, this wouldn't be particularly noteworthy, because everyone has their preferences and a group of 39 rookies isn't necessarily representative of anything. But there are some flat-out weird names on that list, with the likes of Jamal Crawford, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard— the latter of whom has burned bridges with every team he's played for—getting votes over Curry. That feels really off.
Could there be some envy of the Warriors impacting these results? Certainly. A lot of athletes and competitors of all sorts bristled at Kevin Durant joining up with Golden State last offseason, turning them into a villain team in some circles. The problem with that theory is that both Durant and Draymond Green received votes in the rookie survey, so it couldn't have hurt Curry's chances too much.
Maybe players feel that Curry is too unique, because a lot of times a favorite player stems from who you aspire to be. That seems like an insane answer, but Curry's style of insane distance shooting might not feel replicable to a teenage rookie. That wouldn't explain why they'd aspire to be LeBron, a 6-foot-9 behemoth with athleticism as great as any player we've ever seen, but it's hard to grasp this in general.
In the end, it's probably a mix of a lot of factors, and you'd have to ask the rookies individually to get a pulse on how this happened. I'm sure Curry won't lose any sleep over this, though, because the results of the last few years and the bright future to come are better than being named any teenager's "favorite."