Steph Curry’s NBA Finals MVP award opens new chapter to his legacy

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It’s actually perfect for Stephen Curry’s story that it took four championships until he won the NBA Finals MVP award. It challenges you, once again, to contemplate its greatness differently. He’s his own kind of alpha, not a checklist legend following a Hall of Fame playbook.

Over the past eight years, as Curry has gone from a promising player with tender ankles to an essential superstar of the Golden State dynasty, he has changed the sport with more than his unprecedented shooting. His whole game and his personality call us to change the way we talk about stardom in the NBA. Curry’s continued dominance provides a new – and more complete – example of what it means to be the man on a team.

Curry failed to prove himself by ultimately claiming the trophy named after 11-time champion Bill Russell. It was confirmation of what we should already know: he is a top immortal in NBA history. And given how good he looks at 34, he’s far from done. But now that he has submitted a signature Finals performance to the record books, perhaps there can be unbroken appreciation for his diverse impact on the game.

Curry is a singular talent. The NBA has never seen someone of his size have such a dominant influence on the championship. He’s listed at 6ft 2in now, which is funny as he would have been an inch taller for over a decade. He must shrink in his old age. He is the smallest player to be the pilot of a dynasty. If he’s in your top 10-15 of all time, he’s bound to be the shortest player on this list. Basketball will always be a sport in which the most skilled tall person has the best chance of controlling the game. Curry manages to be both ordinary size and heavenly talented.

“You’ve never seen a guy his size dominate the league like that and just to put the weight of everything on his shoulders throughout a Finals streak,” Golden State forward Andre Iguodala told reporters. journalists on Thursday evening. “We all saw what he was doing to those boys. Normally you get a guy that’s a center, like a Hakeem [Olajuwon]. Or Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, these guys are 6-7+ and they can walk into their shoes and shoot guys.

“But a guy his size who has a vertical challenge, they would say, just…you’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. It was just amazing.

Despite all his creativity and experimentation on the pitch, Curry still plays with a lot of self-awareness. The 30 feet are spectacular. His joie de vivre and showmanship make him an essential artist. But he doesn’t get enough credit for his situational awareness, his full arsenal as a goalscorer, his aptitude as a general on the ground and his dedication to moving without the ball to help others open up.

Coach Steve Kerr compares Curry to Tim Duncan because they are both humble, selfless leaders. Iguodala, 38, is an 18-year-old NBA veteran who started his career playing with Allen Iverson in Philadelphia. He often worries about diminished respect for greatness due to overexposure. As Curry’s longtime teammate, Iguodala warns that for everything Curry has seemingly left in the tank, he can’t play forever.

“We are moving away from appreciation,” Iguodala said. “I call them gods – this very unique talent, the generational talent. Because we’re so close to them, we don’t appreciate them as much. When he is gone, we will truly miss him and forget how much of an impact he had, not just on the Warriors or the NBA, but on the whole world. You know, like he rocked the world.

Before Curry dismantled a superb Boston Celtics defense, many had used his lack of Finals MVP material to play it down. How can a two-time regular season MVP let his teammates outplay him on the big stage? NBA talk can be such a hater’s ball, full of too many rigid generalizations and forced comparisons between the greats of the past and the current, still evolving stars. Disputes disrupt enjoyment. This makes every player aspiring to be a timekeeper a kind of human storage bin for accolades. It’s embarrassing in a team sport, this constant talk of individual heritage.

Iguodala was the Finals MVP in 2015. Kevin Durant won in 2017 and 2018. Curry played well in those three Finals, but he didn’t end up being history. He’s come to revel in the success of his teammates thriving in a system Kerr has built to take advantage of the pressure Curry puts on defense.

“It all starts with Steph,” Draymond Green said at the start of the final. “When KD was here, our offense always started with Steph, and that’s how it’s going to be.”

To be so accomplished, Curry isn’t obsessed with reading his resume and thinking about his place in basketball history. He doesn’t need to prove he’s The Man. He lives this title every day. Carrying a franchise isn’t always about proving your individual greatness. In 2016, that responsibility led Curry to join efforts to recruit Durant, a tall and talented player whose addition meant Curry had to adapt. In 2019, when Durant left for Brooklyn, that responsibility forced Curry to lead a younger roster. After two difficult seasons, the Warriors have not just won a fourth championship. They have a young core that could help lengthen the careers of Curry, Green and Klay Thompson.

Curry is the epitome of a franchise player. Whether it’s the focal point, the complementary star, or the decoy, it’s ready to attack winning from every angle.

Early Friday morning in Boston, Curry rubbed his eyes as he sat in the interview room. He wore a black championship shirt, a white championship hat, and glasses still strewn with champagne bubbles. He listened to the first question. It was all about winning the Finals MVP. He slammed his hands on the table.

“Forget that question! he exclaimed. “Why do you start with this question? »

He was bored. He was a player.

“We have four championships,” he said.

You just know he’ll be thinking about number 5 soon.

About Kimberly Alley

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