The greatest battle is the battle against yourself. The battle to better yourself, and to become your best possible version. Human history is a long lineage of individuals fighting to become better. Better fathers, better friends. Better musicians, better athletes. Of course you judge yourself against your peers, but in the end, you are left alone.
There's no one else at the end of the tunnel. Just you. And at the end, will you have strived as deeply as possible? Will you be able to say, with complete honesty, that you left all the cards on the table? Will you be able to look in the mirror and take pride in all you've achieved?
We are witnessing Stephen Curry transform before our eyes like some strange creature emerging from a chrysalis. He is on court, right before us, spreading his wings and transforming into a more powerful version of himself. From undersized guard, given only a single Division 1 offer, to multiple-MVP-winning-face-of-the-NBA? That's a heck of a ride.
Curry's story -- his commitment to self-improvement -- strikes me in my core.
Look at this clip.
Self control. Self control, belief, and faith. Those three words spring to mind as I watch Curry prance across the basketball court, eviscerating his challenges. Challenges, not challengers. When he is committed to the fire, when he is in the moment, he is only battling himself. No one else exists. He is alone, in a world of his own making.
Curry has transcended his sport in a way we've never seen. We never saw this level of transformation in Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson. We've never before seen this type of growth. We've never seen a player so drastically improve himself once entering the league.
And that is what hits me in my gut. Stephen Curry inspires me. The way he approaches his own life, his own outlook. He has never listened to critics, and he has never listened to doubters. Instead, he has always worked on his craft, on his vision, and on his excellence. When he won the MVP last year, it felt like a gift. As a lifelong Warriors fan, it felt like an aberration. A beautiful occurrence to be cherished. The Warriors had not yet won their championship. Curry had not yet hit 400 threes in a season. Had not yet truly upended the league. Upended the world.
Now? It feels like an inevitability. Stephen became the first player in NBA history to win the MVP unanimously. No single player has ever dominated an NBA season like this. No one. And he's still young. Still getting better. It's terrifying and beautiful.
The fact that he is physically fragile -- that he has so recently suffered a series of injuries that threatened to derail his magical season -- only serves to raise the stakes. No other athlete skirts that razor edge of magic vs. pain. Watching Curry play is a reminder that life is glorious, precious, and usually harsh.
Terrifying, beautiful, inspiring, call it what you will. Curry's threshold and ceiling for what is possible is so beyond anything we have ever experienced in the realm of sports.
I can't wait to see what happens, even if I'm almost afraid to watch.