Stephen Curry’s revolutionary impact as clear as ever with fourth NBA title win
Cameras met Stephen Curry as soon as he stepped out of his car, his wiry frame and baby face making it seem as if the suit vest and pants he wore belonged to his father.
He was anxious but hopeful.
“So excited to be here,” he said. “It’s like a dream come true to me.”
It was Oct. 28, 2009, hours before the first NBA game of his career in Oakland for the Golden State Warriors. Pregame, he told a camera crew that he hoped to be an All-Star and win championships.
No one said anything about being a revolutionary.
But a dozen years later, as he finished off the Boston Celtics, it’s clear that’s exactly what he has been — completely reimagining the ways the game could be played.
It’s been a tortuous few months for Lakers fans, with the bitter rival Boston Celtics authoring an NBA Finals run built around a likeable core of players.
Maybe on that first day, none of this seemed possible. But maybe there was at least one person who knew it was.
“Don’t let that fool you. He’s a humble guy. That’s who he is on a daily basis,” Curry’s brother, Seth, told the Times on Thursday night. “But when he steps on the floor, he’s a psycho. Every time he steps out on the floor, he knows that there’s never been anybody better than him on any floor he’s been on.”
Thursday in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, he pulled the NBA’s best defense completely apart, darting to every corner and through every seam. He scored 34 points and, for the first time in his career, was named Finals MVP in a 103-90 victory over the Celtics.
The award, on its own, doesn’t do much more than just check a box — filling in one of the only remaining blank spaces on an otherwise remarkable resume.
In Game 6, just as he did in the Warriors’ three previous Finals runs, Curry was so clearly the team’s engine.
“To me, this is the crowning achievement in what’s already been an incredible career,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Curry pulled the Warriors back together after two years of losing, the shine completely off of the Warriors dynasty until Curry and his team completely revived it Thursday night.
Early in the first quarter, Curry beat Jayson Tatum to a loose rebound.
The Warriors 34-year-old star flew up court, zig-zagging to the basket before dumping it to Gary Payton II. Curry, never stopping, then jetted to the far corner where he got the ball back from Payton.
And then for the 3,672nd time in his NBA career, he flicked his wrist and lobbed a shot through the hoop — Curry at his Curry-est for the Warriors first lead.
By the time the Warriors finished off the Celtics to win their fourth championship in eight years, Curry had demoralized and dominated the Celtics in the kind of way only one of the best to ever do it could.
“Without him, none of this happens,” Kerr said.
By Thursday, no one can be surprised anymore when Curry plays this way.
He hit a 29-foot three-pointer and pointed to his ring finger. The net barely moved. And when the Celtics made their last-gasp comeback, Curry calmed things down by darting into the paint to score at the rim.
The Celtics didn’t have a chance.
For Boston, this group was unable to put its stamp on one of the NBA’s richest histories. Everywhere inside TD Garden, there were reminders that this wasn’t just about winning a banner — it was about winning the Celtics’ 18th title, which would again move them past the Lakers for most in the league history.
With Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” playing pregame, the first “Let’s Go Celtics” chant excitedly filled the arena. By the time fans chanted it again at the start of the second half, it was more out of desperation.
The Warriors looked fully realized, the team reaching the intersection of recapturing all the things that made it so special in its first title run while looking totally comfortable with the group it is now.
Andrew Wiggins, whom the Warriors landed in a string of moves that traces to Kevin Durant’s departure for Brooklyn, smothered Tatum functionally taking the Celtics’ leading scorer out of the game. With momentum swinging to Boston in the fourth, he smoothly canned a three right in front of the Celtics’ bench.
Jordan Poole, the Splash Brother in training, continued to shoot without worry of consequence, the kind of freedom and confidence that has thrived under Kerr.
Then there was Klay Thompson, back in the Finals after catastrophic injuries to his knee and Achilles tendon, setting the tone offensively early by hitting midrange jumpers while gliding across the lane.
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And finally Draymond Green, who struggled for a lot of these Finals, turned in the kind of all-around performance that will one day land him in the Hall of Fame. He scored 12 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had eight assists.
But it was Curry who put the Celtics, and the 2021-22 NBA season, to bed, hitting his sixth three of the game and signaling that it was time for Boston to go to sleep.
He found his father, Dell, near the court and fell into his arms in tears. He collapsed onto the floor before the final horn, freed from the baggage the Warriors had to carry to get back onto the top.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said.
It can be when another dream ends up coming true.
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