In leading the Golden State Warriors to a win over the Boston Celtics to secure his fourth NBA title, Steph Curry filled one of the only blank spots remaining on his Hall of Fame resume.
After missing out each of the first three times before, Curry finally hoised the NBA Finals MVP trophy, one of the only league honors that still eluded him. And in doing so, he also answered any lingering questions about how closely his own legacy would be tied to the former teammate who won two of those MVP trophies.
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Curry Wanted Another Win
Speaking to Yahoo Sports after Golden State’s 103-90 win on Thursday, Curry was asked about former teammate Kevin Durant and whether winning another ring after Durant’s 2019 exit provided any extra motivation. Curry skipped the diplomatic answer and said he definitely wanted to prove he could win again without Durant.
“For sure. You bookend it,” Curry said. “That’s part of it. But nobody in October thought we’d be here. Now we are. With this group. Not compared to any group before it, so it’s pretty dope.”
Though he led the Warriors to an NBA title before Durant arrived, Curry faced lingering questions about whether his Golden State teammate would take a larger share of the credit for the two they won together. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Ann Killion noted, this year’s championship now silences the “legions of cynics who thought the exit of Kevin Durant ended things,” writing a new chapter in Golden State’s dynasty.
For Curry, it also helps to erase the bad memories of 2019, when things appeared to fall apart for the Warriors dynasty as they lost to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, lost Klay Thompson to a torn ACL that kept him out all of the next season and then lost Durant to the Brooklyn Nets.
“(This is) definitely different because of the baggage we were carrying out of 2019,” Curry said after Thursday’s win. “I don’t know how many teams could carry that.”
Cementing His Legacy
After Thursday’s game, many agreed that Curry’s legacy as one of the league’s greatest players was cemented. Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas told ESPN about a conversation with former Celtics star Cedric Maxwell, who pointed out that there are only 32 NBA Finals MVPs.
Thomas noted that both he and Maxwell are members of that exclusive club, but said Curry’s legacy was complete even before the MVP award he won on Thursday.
“At the end, it does matter. It helps,” Thomas said. “Steph’s legacy is already cemented, in terms of what he’s done for the game, how he’s improved the game, and what he’s done making all the kids want to play the game [the way he does]. He’s pushed the game forward.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added that it speaks well to Curry’s legacy that he only had one major thing left to accomplish.
“Honestly, the whole Finals MVP thing,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “It’s like, I mean, are we really — I guess his career has been so impeccable, that’s the only thing we can actually find. So it’s great to check that box for him. But it’s been really hard for me to think that that’s actually been held against him.”