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Steph Curry’s 2022 NBA title puts him on Basketball Mount Rushmore

Like a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, it was composed of soft strokes of the finest details and, in the end, was beautiful.

Curry’s legacy as one of the great athletes has long been entrenched, but he has never been made to stand still.

Despite everything that went against him in Game 4 of the NBA Finals—a leg injury, difficulties with teammates, and a type of pressure that we mere mortals can’t even imagine—Curry had arguably one of the best games of his career. career (and plenty to choose from), set the Boston Celtics on fire with 43 points to tie the game in the Finals.

Even after a career with multiple titles, multiple top honors and multiple All-NBA First teams, the all-star point guard still shows why he is the preeminent figure in the sport.

“He didn’t let us lose. That’s all it comes down to. I could tell from his demeanor,” longtime Warriors teammate Draymond Green said after winning Game 4.

On Thursday, the Warriors captured the 2022 NBA title by defeating the Celtics in Game 6 of the Finals, securing another ring for Curry and his legacy as an all-time great.

The title is his fourth in eight seasons, but perhaps the most impressive for the 34-year-old, and his first Finals MVP award cements his status as one of the top 10 players in league history among a respected company.

What will they say now? Curry said Mark Spears of Andscape after the game. “(You) hear all the talk about you as a player and us as a team, no one outside of San Francisco thought we would be here last October when the season started. I as a player, obviously this Finals MVP and all, knew (we were) good enough to win three championships before.

“But to be able to reach the fourth (championship) and reach that goal too, God, that’s great,” Curry said of the Bill Russell Trophy. “I’m just happy that I was able to do it.”

Curry cries after beating the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Game change

Since joining the league in 2009, Curry has almost single-handedly changed the way basketball is played. Teams are now increasingly prioritizing their three-point shots, while NBA prospects enter the draft with well-built long shots.

But Curry, the master of his craft, showed in a game against the Celtics – the league’s No. 2 defense – why he is still the model of the smooth three-point offense that the Warriors and head coach Steve Kerr have become. known for.

Unlike other heliocentric offenses – like Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks – Curry doesn’t have the ball in his hands every time he has the ball, but don’t be fooled, the entirety of the Dubs offense works because of Curry.

He is the Sun in the attack of the Solar System Warriors. His teammates revolve around his attacking threat, opening up space even if he may not even have the ball, and yet, even with all the defense thrown at him, such is his threat, Curry still finds ways to score.

Green hugs Curry before Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 Western Conference Finals.

Although his NBA record streak of 233 games with at least one 3-pointer came to an end in Game 5, his presence on the court alone is enough to scare defensemen.

Not content with staying in one spot on the floor, Curry can often be seen running in circles without the ball trying to move to a place where he can hit. Both this move and Green’s accurate pass not only brought huge success to the Warriors, but also changed the league.

For the backbone of the Warriors – Curry, Green, Clay Thompson and head coach Steve Kerr – this is their fourth title and perhaps their most impressive.

Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Curry pose for a photo after defeating the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

“I don’t want to write this”

On November 19, 2020, it was revealed that Warriors fans didn’t want to hear.

Thompson, the second player in the prolific Splash Brothers team, tore his Achilles tendon ending his 2020-21 season. “I don’t want to write this. My soul is in Brooklyn and will take a nap before the game,” said Thompson. wrote on his instagram.

This will be the second season in a row that the star shooting guard has been out, having torn his left cruciate ligament in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals.

In the two seasons he missed, the Warriors went 54-83, including missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Between Curry and Green’s injuries and the fading sands of time, it looked like the unthinkable could happen: the Warriors. the dynasty may fall into decay.

However, like the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs that Kerr played for, the Warriors have rebuilt.

Thanks to some clever trades and shrewd draft picks, the previously empty core was suddenly surrounded by a bunch of talented and experienced high-energy players.

With the return of Thompson and the addition of some young players such as Jordan Pool, the team made an incredible return to the Finals, leaving behind a slew of stars.

But without Curry’s offensive magnetism, this might never have happened.

Curry throws a ball against the Celtics during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Heritage

For someone who has changed the NBA so comprehensively, the last two months have been Curry’s clinic.

He averaged over 27 points, roughly five rebounds and six assists, while consistently being the focus of the league’s strongest defense.

And while he is certainly one of the league’s greatest players given the uniqueness and success of his playing style, this 2021-2022 season was the cherry on top of his future Hall of Fame career.

Although he is still a long way from the league record for championship rings—Bill Russell has a remarkable 11 points from the legendary Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s—he is now tied with luminaries such as LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Robert Parish on four titles.

The debate over who is the top 10 NBA players of all time has been going on for years and will continue for years to come.

But such was his influence in the playoffs and in the season as a whole, Curry should be among those elite names.

“Mount Rushmore Expansion… is the only conversation that should be about Stephen Wardell Curry. Sincerely, Dwyane Wade, three-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat. posted on instagram.
San Antonio Spurs All-Star point guard Dejonte Murray also praised Curry after Thursday’s win. “We will never see anything like Curry again. Appreciate His GREATNESS why we can!!! #Top10EVER,” he wrote on Twitter.

Despite a brilliant career so far this season, three league titles and two MVP awards, this year’s triumph could be his crown jewel.

Hall of Famer point guard Isaiah Thomas said Finals MVP Curry “helps” his legacy.

“As Boston’s Cedric Maxwell told me the other day, he says, ‘There are 32 NBA Finals (MVPs). I’m one of them,” Thomas told ESPN.

“I am one of them too. In the end, it matters. children want to play this game (the way he does). He moved the game forward.”

Curry receives Bill Russell's NBA Finals MVP award after defeating the Celtics in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Curry joined some reputable company on his Thursday night catch. Prior to Game 6, only five players had four rings, multiple league MVP and Finals MVP awards: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan.

Curry now has six players.

Jordan and James are widely considered to be two of the best players in NBA history. But could Curry be No. 3? Is Curry the best point guard in league history?

These are not crazy proposals, but conversations that will start.

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