On the cusp of returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2019, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors find themselves in prime position to silence critics. With a 3-0 lead, the Warriors are all but guaranteed to have a spot saved for them on June 2 when the Finals begin. Winning a fourth championship could be the most important one to Curry’s legacy.
Curry’s legacy is mainly set, having won three championships, two league MVP awards, two scoring titles, holding numerous three-points shooting records, and being recognized as the greatest shooter in the game’s history. But the one accolade that continues to elude Steph is a Finals MVP. Winning just one Finals MVP award will put Curry in another spectrum of NBA legend.
Let’s first acknowledge what many LeBron James fans are dreading. Another ring for Steph ties him with King James at four apiece. Curry would be the only superstar of the past decade that could match James ring-for-ring with a Warriors championship this year.
Another reason title No. 4 for Steph means so much is Kevin Durant. The narrative that Golden State would’ve never won another championship after 2015 had Durant not shown up is still out there. KD came to town and won two titles with the Warriors, and both of those Finals MVPs. Curry still has zero. Curry needs another Finals victory under his belt and his first MVP in the Finals to make that noise about Durant go away.
Winning a title after Durant quiets the noise that KD was the only reason they won the second and third championships. For many, that’s been the indictment of Curry’s career. It probably shouldn’t be, but that’s the reality of the situation. This one could be even more glorious than the first if Golden State wins a fourth championship.
Steph also has a chance to climb onto the same level in some respects as one of the biggest winners in Bay Area sports history, Joe Montana. Joe Cool also won four championships. And Montana won two Super Bowls with a superstar teammate in Jerry Rice, and two without him. Curry has two with Durant and is looking for his second without him. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it fits. Along with that, Curry also needs that Finals MVP to make it more of a comparison.
Taking home Larry O’Brien trophy no. 4 and a Finals MVP should catapult Steph into most people’s Top 10 all-time. Whenever the conversation is broached, his lack of a Finals MVP is usually the main sticking point. Curry is already somewhere between 11 and 20, depending on who you ask.
And this may not be the last we hear from Curry and company where titles are concerned. We could be witnessing the beginning of the second part of their dynasty. Golden State could have a similar comeback to the San Antonio Spurs and New England Patriots. Although the Spurs and Patriots both had much longer gaps between titles during their dynastic runs than the Warriors. The gap between Warriors championships would not be as long, but there are parallels.
But when we look at the core of those teams, that’s where the similarities are. San Antonio’s core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker was the constant in three of their first four title wins in the 2010s, and they were still around for the 2014 title as well. For New England, the core was simply Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. There were many other moving parts for the Patriots, but those two were the constant for 20 years and six Super Bowl victories.
So, this is probably the most crucial playoff run in terms of legacy for Curry. If he can lead the Warriors back to the mountaintop after the entire league wrote them off as washed, and win his first Finals MVP, that’ll cement Steph Curry in the NBA’s top 10 all-time.