Words Bonsu Thompson

Portraits Jeff Sciortino

Losing in New York is unlike losing anywhere else in the world,” states New York Knick center Eddy Curry. “I mean, we don’t even get the paper [delivered] to my house anymore.”

Tucked away—as much as a 6-11, 285 pound man can be—in the upstairs dining area of Times Square’s regal Paramount Hotel, the Big Apple’s big man might not be feeling particularly large tonight. His squad has just lost yet another game, and it’s clear another Knick season will end without a sniff of the Playoffs.

But Eddy’s not letting some black cloud piss on him. He refuses to take tonight’s loss to heart. The fact of the matter is, the 24-year-old Harvey, IL native, who is wrapping up his sixth NBA campaign, is actually feeling pretty good these days.

See, in Eddy’s view, he is one of the biggest names in the East.

“I feel like Dwight Howard is a great player, but past him and Shaq, it’s me,” he says, bent over a full plate of chicken alfredo. “Even if you look statistically, I was averaging more than any big man in the East.”

His eyes drift into his plate for two seconds. Then suddenly he looks up, sits erect and proclaims: “I feel like I’m the dominant big man in the East.”

It’s this robust confidence that’s allowed Curry to become the evolved player that he is today. Not only has it assisted him against the League’s competing Goliaths, but the baby-arrogance has helped keep him comfortable during a career that has been filled with turbulence.

Considering he’s seen more than his share of non-believers, losing records, health concerns and critics, Eddy had no choice but to develop armor. Still, his doggedness shouldn’t be mistaken for delusion.

“He really should’ve been an All-Star, this year,” says Eddy’s
favorite teammate, Jamal Crawford, who met Eddy while Jamal played for the Bulls and EC was a high school senior at Illinois’ Thornwood HS [When he doubled as SLAM’s high school diary writer.—Ed.].

“You should hear the praises opposing coaches give him. And they’re the ones doubling and tripling him!”

So Curry’s relative happiness is understandable. He sits at this evening’s meal as the Knicks’ MVP—their lone consistent low-post presence and leading scorer (19.5 ppg). Possessing a stretch-Hummer truck of a body and, after the reborn Chris Webber, possibly the East‘s softest touch in the paint, Eddy is simply a load to handle on the blocks.

Along with the best statistical season of his career, he’s having a ball in the Big Apple.

For more on this story, check out SLAM issue #110.