In the third quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, Stephen Curry pulled up from 29 feet out and sunk another 3-point dagger before pointing to his right ring finger.
Curry didn’t simply set another ring on the Celtics’ hallowed parquet floor beneath the historic championship banners; he confirmed his future Hall of Fame reputation by entering an exclusive, historical group with his first NBA Finals MVP award.
Curry was unanimously voted the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after guiding the Golden State Warriors to a 103-90 victory against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, claiming his fourth championship and the one honour that had escaped him. Curry broke down in tears as the final seconds ticked away, forcing him to take a seat on the court.
“What are they gonna say now, boy?” Curry said after seeing Bay Area rapper Mistah F.A.B. Curry’s doubters can no longer claim that he is the NBA’s best shooter because he has yet to win a Finals MVP award.
“What are they going to say now?” says the speaker. After the game, Curry told Andscape’s Marc Spears. “[You] hear all the talk about you as a player and us as a team, nobody outside of the Bay Area thought we would be here last October when the season started. Me as a player, obviously this Finals MVP stuff and all that, knew [we were] good enough to win three championships before .”
Curry then discussed the new Finals MVP trophy he was holding.
“But to have the opportunity to go for a fourth [championship], and to accomplish this goal, too, God is great,” Curry said about the Bill Russell trophy. “Just happy I got to do it.”
Curry received a phone call from former President Barack Obama praising him after he scored 34 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds in the series-clinching game, giving him 30 or more in three straight games at Boston.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Curry is only the fifth player in NBA history to win multiple MVPs, a Finals MVP, and a scoring title, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Wilt Chamberlain.
Curry joined the ranks of NBA legends by hitting six 3-pointers on Thursday, three of which came in the third quarter. One of them was a 29-footer with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter that put the Warriors up 22 points, prompting him to celebrate by pointing to his ring finger as Boston called a timeout.
Curry’s most famous Finals MVP performance, though, came in a Game 4 win in Boston, when he swung the series’ momentum with a spectacular 43-point, 10-rebound performance that tied the series at 2-2. Golden State won three straight games, including that one, to capture their fourth championship in eight years.
Game 6 was a defining moment for Curry as a point guard. Four rings, two league MVPs, two scoring crowns, one Finals MVP, and one All-Star Game MVP later, the NBA’s most prolific 3-point shooter has it all.
Curry’s status among the game’s legends may now be debated, as can whether he is a top-10 player of all-time and one of the greatest point guards ever.
“It helps,” Hall of Fame point guard Isiah Thomas said of Curry’s legacy benefiting from a Finals MVP. “As [Boston’s] Cedric Maxwell said to me the other night, he goes, ‘There’s 32 NBA Finals [MVPs]. I’m one of them,’ says the narrator.
Curry’s season has set numerous records. He became the game’s 3-point king earlier this season, passing Ray Allen for first place on the all-time 3-pointers made chart.
Curry’s 13th season will be remembered for winning his fourth title, joining James, Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, and Bill Russell as the only players to win four championships and multiple MVP awards.
“I told him after the game, there is nothing else you can possibly do in this game,” Curry’s brother Seth Curry, who plays for the Nets, told ESPN. “It is good to get another championship and top it off with a Finals MVP. That is one of the few things he didn’t have.”
Seth Curry continued, “He is in that top 10 all-time individual player debate [now]. Not just shooting. In this Finals he did everything on the floor. … What else can he do ?”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Curry was praised by his team for his defence in the Finals, as he held the Celtics to 0.78 points per play, 38 percent field goal shooting, and 31 percent contested field goal percentage.
Curry also let his opponents hear him speak after each series victory in the playoffs. When asked about the Warriors’ game plan before Game 5, he mentioned Memphis’ mantra of “Whoop that trick” to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews in the second round. Curry had 29 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in Game 6 to eliminate the Grizzlies after they blew out Golden State in Game 5.
When putting teams away, he used his rock-a-bye baby celebration motion a few times, including for the final time this season in Game 6 against Boston on Thursday.
After Kevin Durant was chosen MVP twice during the Warriors’ 2017 and 2018 victories, and Andre Iguodala was named MVP in the 2015 Finals, Curry can put to rest all the critics who claimed he didn’t have a Finals MVP.
“To stamp [his career] with a Finals MVP — I know he said it don’t matter,” Draymond Green remarked. “And it doesn’t matter in the sense of like, oh, his legacy is not quite this unless he gets that. Like, that’s garbage. Steph Curry is still one of the best players of all time.
When Thomas considers the last 15 years of basketball, he believes James, Curry, and Durant have defined the era. Curry’s fourth championship and Finals MVP, according the Warriors coach Steve Kerr, is his “crowning achievement.”
“Honestly, the whole Finals MVP thing,” Kerr said. “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.”
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