In the end, Stephen Curry couldn’t hold back his tears. His team, the Golden State Warriors, had just won game six of the finals series against the Boston Celtics 103-90. A win that gave the Warriors a 4-2 overall lead, making them the year’s National Basketball Association champions. It’s the seventh title in franchise history.
For Curry, who scored 34 points in Friday’s game and was subsequently named Finals Most Valuable Player, it was his fourth title with the Warriors in eight years. During this period they reached the final six times. The 34-year-old point guard should by now have a certain routine in winning championship rings. But this championship is also a special one for him. “I’m so proud of my team,” Curry said after the game ESPN. “No one thought we’d end up here. It just feels surreal.«
Because before the season, the Warriors were not exactly the top favorite. After the team from San Francisco had won the championship three times between 2015 and 2018, bad luck seemed to follow: The two superstars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant were seriously injured in the 2019 final against the Toronto Raptors. Curry also had to take a long break later due to a broken hand.
While Thompson was completely out for two years, Durant left the Warriors in 2019. The former super team seemed finally broken. But those responsible around manager Bob Myers used the two weak sporting years 2020 and 2021 to build a new team.
Fixed point and the man for the necessary spice: Stephen Curry. The two championships in 2017 and 2018 were more publicly attributed to Durant. Despite being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in both 2015 and 2016, Curry didn’t always get the respect he deserved. Perhaps because Curry, at 188 centimeters, is not perceived as particularly physically imposing – the average NBA pro is about 2.07 meters tall. He’s also not a very good athlete. Curry relies on his game intelligence and his outstanding skills as a pitcher. The circumstance has earned him the reputation of a “Lionel Messi of basketball” in football-dominated Europe.
“It’s an honor to play with him and to call him my teammate,” Kevon Looney said of Curry after the crucial game against the Celtics. “He’s one of the greatest of all time and we’ve all followed his lead,” said Curry’s congenial partner Klay Thompson. “I’m happy for everyone and especially for Steph,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “For me, it’s the culmination of his incredible career.” Kerr has won the title five times as a player. It’s his fourth as a coach, all with the Warriors, all with Curry.
After the first three games of the Finals, however, it didn’t look like the Warriors would emerge victorious. The Celtics initially kept Curry and Co. in check with their defense and physique and were already leading 2-1 in the series. But in the fourth game, Curry almost single-handedly beat the Celtics with 43 points, his team was back.
By then it was clear: If the Warriors win the series, Curry must be voted the most valuable player in the finals. The fact that this award was missing from his letterhead was interpreted by some experts as a flaw. “This championship means more,” said Warriors chairman Joe Lacob. Curry’s tears bear witness to this.