I never got a chance to watch the greatest player of all time. I never witnessed Magic Johnson and Larry Bird's rivalry. Wasn't close to basketball aware during the beginning of the San Antonio Spurs' run, nor the Kobe Bryant - Shaquille O'Neal Los Angeles Lakers. Anything further than that? I've seen Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell' box score numbers, I guess. And then in 2016, I am going to honest-pen that the entire basketball world, not just now, not just in the next decade, but the rewrite of the entire basketball history, are about Stephen Curry.
Curry's been building up to this type of classic tale. During a six-game road trip right after the All-Star Break, the malaise hit just about everyone, including the heart of the team in Draymond Green. And yet Curry upped his game, his records, the records, to unimangible heights. Unimaginable only in the thoughts of the disbelieving, of course, and that's what makes the retired athletes floundering in jealousy even more applicable to this type of dominance.
Then Curry sprained his ankle in a story read so many times before that even the Oklahoma City crowd sucked the energy out of a matchup featuring the two best teams in the NBA.
When he returned, be it a mere re-taping or an F U to the fans that secretly sneered at his ankle issues, he proceeded to limp further away from the rim, and dragged the Golden State Warriors closer to competence against a contender that thirsted a victory to prove that they were on the same echelon.
In a game where Kevin Durant ripped apart the GSW defense for the 500th time, Russell Westbrook tore through bracket coverage like a running back against prevent defense, Klay Thompson worked his usual off-screen magic, and Draymond Green screamed his way from the locker room to our living rooms, there was only one spotlight and it followed Curry as he lit up the entire arena over and over again.
Crossover, step-back 3. Dribble, dribble, pull-up from 28. Behind-the-back, crossover, isolation 3 while falling down. Double-pump through the defender's arms from above the break. Everything was in rhythm. Everything was about Stephen Curry. The game itself was important only in theory. It mattered because the Spurs were nipping on their heels. It mattered because it did for the Thunder, even on a night the Warriors had worn down, been outplayed, and outclassed on the floor. And yet the meaning of the game shifted from tangible goals and records to innate joy, screams, and believing what our eyes could only wish we can see. As Curry kept splashing from beyond even the most imaginative of fantasies, the game itself slipped from reality to the kid's storybook ending we've dreamt for ourselves so many times.
As time ticked off before the inevitable finish, tied after all the chaos, Stephen Curry took a dribble past half court, two steps into rhythm, and lofted his shot from 32 feet, taunting not just Chesapeake Energy Arena but Oscar Robertson, Cavs and Spurs fans, the entire assortment of jealous athletes from the past, and the history of the entire National Basketball Association.
Everything is about that guy now. His signature shot captured for all of us, poised to remain etched into the memories of the next however many years basketball is relevant. The ball floated in midair for as long as a basketball has ever done so. The Thunder bench flung their hands up before it even hits its descent.
What do you think happened next?