SAN FRANCISCO — The search for new superlatives to describe Stephen Curry’s influence on the Warriors franchise and on the world game of basketball continues to be futile. The old ones suffice because the originals are generally the best.
So, Steve Kerr, who coached Curry for nine years, is no longer making the effort. He sticks to the usuals—Brilliant, Exceptional, Spectacular, Brilliant, Superstar, etc.—hoping they can be recycled and polished to a shine.
However, Kerr provides a story that illustrates this.
“I think I’ve told you that story,” Kerr said Monday when I asked him, for the 393rd time, to articulate Carrie’s impact. “But when I have dinner with (legendary Tottenham coach) Gregg Popovich, literally every dinner, when we sit down pouring wine, he says, ‘Here’s Tim Duncan.’ And his point is without Tim, none of this happens.
“And that’s how I feel about Steve.”
The final chapter of Steve’s travel was written in Sacramento on Sunday. In Game 7 of the Warriors-Kings’ first-round playoff series, Curry led the action, dictated the tempo, deployed himself throughout the action, and pulled even the most hard-charging teammates to one of the most memorable victories they would experience in their NBA careers. .
Meanwhile, Curry became the first person in 76-year NBA history to score 50 points in a Game 7.
This performance launched the latest scramble for new superlatives.
Is Curry the greatest warrior of all time? Yes. had already. Is he among the top 10 players in the history of the NBA. Yes, and even the most recalcitrant naysayers admit that it’s debatable. and then Melissa Lockard from The Athletic Take to Twitter to revisit a question that has been asked oft in recent years: Is he the Bay Area’s greatest athlete of all time?
If the definition is, as Merriam-Webster puts it, “significantly superior in character or quality… noble,” then the answer is yes. Better than Joe Montana, Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Jerry Rice or any other legend for demonstrating superior skill and production while representing a professional team in the Bay Area.
The answer is yes, again, because Curry transcends these narrow boundaries. The 35-year-old has managed to catapult the hapless franchise to the top of the world sporting mountain. The Warriors, with Curry as the face of the franchise, have gone from NBA backwater to a worldwide phenomenon.
“We can all sit here and thank Steve for this era,” Kerr said. “Everyone played a part in it. It’s been a great collaboration with ownership, management, different coaches, different colleagues and obviously there are Hall of Fame guys out there in Draymond (Green), Klay (Thompson) and Andre (Iguodala). It really is an amazing group of people and talent. .
“But it’s Steve. When it comes down to it, if you remove Steve from the equation, I haven’t been coaching here for a decade. I would have been fired a long time ago—if I had gotten the job in the first place.”
or taken the job.
Kerr had the idea that he had inherited greatness. Mark Jackson, the coach who preceded Kerr, called the Curry-Thompson guard duo “the greatest backcourt in the history of the game.” He was right.
Jackson also describes Curry as someone who “ruined” the game, implying that his exploits become the goal others aspire to, though Curry’s innate gifts make them something of a foolish pursuit.
The most appropriate word, of course, ischange. The Game. The Warriors. And the Way We Think.
There was a time when Bay Area sidewalks and stores weren’t crowded with people in Warriors hats, T-shirts, and T-shirts. A time when year after year after year Golden State would go without anyone worthy of appearing in the NBA All-Star Game. The visiting teams arrived in the Bay Area with the assumption of victory.
A time when just making the playoffs was cause for wild celebration.
now? Expectations have been raised to insane levels, and anything short of making it to the NBA Finals is a letdown or worse. And now the Bay is, as Kevin Durant proved in 2016, a destination on the NBA map.
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Kerr said, “Every star has this kind of influence on their star—and when I say star, I’m talking about the best of the best places—(the area),” Kerr said. Michael Jordan’s impact on Chicago. Tim Duncan’s impact on San Antonio. Bill Russell’s impact on Boston.
“Impact goes beyond just wins and losses. It’s what you do for the brand itself, what you bring to the city and to joy and benefit.”
Kerr pauses for the briefest moments to sum up Steve’s broad influence, in the Bay and beyond.
“Think about how many kids have been born over the past 15 years in the Bay Area whose first moment of basketball was watching Steve Curry make a 35-footer and instantly fell in love with the Warriors,” he said. “How long does that last? Age, usually, because your team when you’re five is usually your team when you’re 55.”
“Steve is behind it all. I don’t know how to define it. I just know we are all incredibly lucky to be a part of it.”
Curry is a generational talent, an example of true humanity, and while he’s not as perfect as the rest of us, he’ll continue to attract superlatives. They’ll keep coming, too, because there’s no sign that he’s ready to stop being worthy.
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