Take a few moments to think about some of the greatest players the game of basketball has ever seen: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James.
What do all of the aforementioned legends have in common? They never won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in unanimous fashion. Well, the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry just broke new ground there.
Curry revolutionized the game this season, pouring in a record-shattering 402 3-point shots while leading the Golden State Warriors to an all-time best 73-9 record. He heralded his selection by coming back from injury on Monday night with 40 points including 17 in overtime, in a win against the Trailblazers. All 131 voters chose him as the M.V.P. Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs placed second and James third, based on second and third-place votes. (New York Times)
What an incredible chain of events. The Warriors are showing no signs of slowing down. I even stipulated earlier this season that their record-breaking season wouldn’t mean anything unless they won the NBA title. This still is true, at least in my eyes.
Forget that Curry won the MVP award. It wasn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion that he would win. It’s a subjective award. What’s objective to all basketball fans is the ridiculous nature of Curry’s talent.
He’s playing at a level that is almost incomparable. He may not have the greatest inside game as Jordan, Bryant, Chamberlain, Russell, and Abdul-Jabbar had, but the muscle his teammates provide only complements how dominant he is and has been overall in his career.
I remember Curry when he had the spotlight on him and his mid-major Davidson Wildcats in the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Davidson was the Cinderella that year, rolling through heavyweights like Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin, before succumbing to the toughness of Kansas.
You knew you were, and still are, watching something special in front of your very eyes. His sharp-shooting skills are rivaled by so few over the course of time.
I really wish there was a way to have a Steph Curry on every single team in the NBA. This way, you’d have to develop a strong inside presence rather than living and dying by the 3-pointer. That’s what many fans complain about when they talk about the Golden State Warriors. They say their 73-win squad wouldn’t match up well against the 1995-1996 Bulls, whose record the Warriors broke this year.
I say, “Who cares?” That’s like saying the 2007 New England Patriots wouldn’t be able to take down the 1972 Miami Dolphins simply because the running game was the most dominant for Miami. Conversely, Tom Brady was airing out the football like it was going out of style. We can’t continue to have these particular debates.
The Golden State Warriors this season are setting records, but they’re also providing some of the most exciting basketball we’ve seen in a number of years. I’m not particularly rooting for them to win the NBA Finals, but I have a lot of respect for them if they cap off this incredible campaign with back-to-back titles to go with Curry’s back-to-back MVPs.