NBA Finals: Stephen Curry’s fourth championship puts him in even rarer historic air, and he’s far from done

NBA Finals: Stephen Curry’s fourth championship puts him in even rarer historic air, and he’s far from done

I never really know where I fit in the whole ring culture. Championships are not won by a single player. These are total organizational victories, and they can be very circumstantial. That said, Stephen Curry winning his fourth NBA championship, tying him with LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal, on Thursday night seems very significant.

Curry’s four are one more than Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade, and one less than Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan. Leave all your “he needed Kevin Durant” stories in the trash where they belong. First Curry won a title before Durant and now he won one after him. Besides LeBron needed Wade and Chris Bosh, Shaq needed Kobe and Wade, Magic needed Kareem. That’s how it works, especially with the wealth of talent that exists in the modern NBA. No one does it alone.

That said, Curry has always been the eye of that Warriors storm that has torn the NBA apart for the past eight years. He’s the guy defenses fear the most and guard accordingly. He’s the guy who keeps everyone together in the locker room, the selfless star who plays without the ball and makes room for others to shine. You hear Steve Kerr refer to Curry as the short version of Tim Duncan, and he’s right. The superstar’s rare blend of humility and downright arrogant confidence in his own abilities that, as Steve Kerr told Scott Van Pelt after the win, “makes everyone in the dressing room want to fight for him” .

“Without him, none of this happens,” Kerr said. “And that doesn’t take anything away from the ownership of Joe and Peter, because they’re amazing owners. They’ve built an amazing organization. Bob Myers, one hell of a general manager. Our players. We’ve had so many great players. But Steph is ultimately the reason this race happened.Just like Timmy [Duncan] in San Antonio. I’m happy for everyone, but I’m happy for Steph. For me, this is his crowning achievement in what has already been an incredible career.”

I agree with Kerr. There is something different, more definitive, in this title. This Warriors team wasn’t great. Klay Thompson deserves a lot of love for the way he came back this season and contributed a lot to what is also his fourth title, but he’s not the player everyone remembers before injuries. Neither did Draymond Green, who halfway through this series was starting to look like a real prejudice. Andrew Wiggins was Golden State’s second-best player by far.

As Kerr said, thanks to Myers for pulling all the right strings on the list and not pulling a few more that a lot of people thought he should have pulled. Credit to a long list of players who have stepped up their roles. But that was Curry’s title, plain and simple. He gets his first Finals MVP averaging 31.2 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals on 48-42 shooting against one of the best defenses we’ve seen in a long time, perhaps. ever be, but of course, when asked about this individual honor, he was not at all interested in talking about him.

“Forget that question. Why are you starting with this question? Curry responded when asked how it felt to get rid of the Finals MVP monkey. “We have four championships. God is awesome. The ability to be on this stage and play with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything to try and get to the finish line.

“This one hits different for sure, just knowing what the last three years have meant, what it’s been like from injuries to the changing of the guard in the rosters, Wiggs passing, our young guys who believe we could get back to it step and win, even if it didn’t make sense to anyone when we said it, it all matters.

“And now we have four championships. Me, Dray, Klay and Andre, we finally got this bad boy. It’s special. It’s special. Just all the work that went into it, the faith and the belief and everyone in that locker room that happened to spray champagne in the locker room, everyone counted in that process, so I’m proud of everyone.

indeed, Curry will never sing his own praises. That’s what his teammates are here for. Andre Iguodala said the title solidifies Curry as the greatest point guard of all time. Draymond called Curry “absolutely amazing”.

On Thursday, Curry had 34 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, knocking down six 3-point shots. This makes him the first player in NBA history to make at least five 3-pointers in five games of a single Finals series. He’s also one of five players to have won multiple regular-season MVPs, multiple goalscoring titles, and Finals MVPs, and he’s only the third goaltender in history to average at least 30 points in two separate finals. We’re running out of space on a resume that’s getting pretty hard to keep out of any meaningful historical conversation.

This eight-year run that Curry is currently on is something you may never see again in your life. LeBron took nine years between his first title and his fourth. Shaq needed seven. If Kevin Durant doesn’t fall in 2019, if Draymond Green doesn’t get suspended in 2016, Curry probably has at least five titles in those eight years, and most likely six, with a record season of 73 wins on the card too.

Curry is, quite simply, one of the safest bets for the Championship that has ever existed. That’s what sets the greats apart. You need a great team, you need certain things to come your way, to really win it all. But it’s the guys who have their teams hunting year after year who are the best. Give Curry a decent roster, and he’ll take you far.

And the thing is, he’s far from done. Have you watched these finals? Did that look like a guy close to significant decline? I admit, I let myself believe, on more than one occasion, that this was the beginning of the end of Curry’s bounty as he worked his way through the worst shooting season of his career, but he was brilliant in the playoffs. Boston rolling out all-series drop coverage was a nice boost, but, man, did it look great. Quick. Strong. Confident. Shooting video games had returned to routine. His defensive commitment, insofar as his size and ability allow, is nothing short of inspiring. His conditioning is marvellous.

Curry is 34 and you have to wonder if he still has five years like LeBron in him, where age doesn’t seem to have nearly the same impact as most. He takes care of his body the same way LeBron does, and his shooting gravity will have an almost indescribable impact probably for as long as he plays.

Give Thompson a full, healthy offseason to rediscover the consistent two-way form we’ve only seen in stints this season. Give Jordan Poole another year and you might not be too far from an All-Star. Green remains an elite defender and won’t remain the offensive liability he was for much of this series as few teams are going to keep Curry like the Celtics have; Green’s game will be back. Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody arrive. James Wiseman could be too. Wiggins is solidified in this ecosystem. Kevon Looney is a godsend. Gary Payton II is for real. Vegas already has the Warriors on the list of championship favorites next season.

Also, don’t rule out Myers making a big trade to make this team even better. He’s resisted the urge so far, but maybe that’s only because the right deal hasn’t presented itself. Myers believed that as long as the Warriors had Curry, they had what it took to win another title without jeopardizing the future, and he was right. But those assets are still there, and Myers has proven he knows what to do with them, one way or another.

But that’s all on the road. Right now is a time to reflect on not only one of the greatest and increasingly accomplished basketball players this world has ever seen, but also one of the most unique. Chances are you’ll never see another Steph Curry again. Not his way of playing. Not the way he leads. It is truly one of a kind. The kid that hardly anyone recruited, who was drafted by the rotten organization a long time ago and nearly lost his career to tissue paper ankles before it even really started, turned this league upside down in less than a decade. If I didn’t watch almost every minute of it with my own eyes, I would still find it hard to believe.

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