Fourth of July '22

Focused on faith, Steph Curry leads Golden State Warriors back to NBA Finals

Believe it or not, Steph Curry had not received an individual postseason award in his NBA career until Thursday night. After the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Dallas Mavericks with a Game 5 victory, Curry became the first-ever recipient of the Magic Johnson Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Western Conference Finals.

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The two-time league MVP and three-time champion averaged 23.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.6 rebounds against Dallas. He contributed 15 points and nine assists in Golden State’s series-clinching 120-110 win.

The Warriors are the first team since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls to reach the NBA finals six times in eight seasons. They represented the Western Conference five straight years from 2015-2019, but did not make the postseason in 2020 or 2021.

“Yes and no,” Curry said postgame when asked if any of his past experiences felt similar to this season. “I think just playing on this stage and understanding how composed we were this whole time because of all the series that we’ve been in — especially how we compete and play and win on the road — but it’s also different because it’s a new cast of characters and you have to find new ways to get it done.”

Prominently featured in the team’s celebrations was a yellow wristband on Curry’s left wrist that says, “In Jesus’ Name I Play.” He has long worn that wristband, including when he broke the NBA 3-point record in December.

Curry talked openly about his faith in an episode of “Stephen vs. The Game,” a Facebook series he released in 2019. He talked about his faith journey and how being a Christian has shaped him.

“My faith is tested on the court as much as it is in life,” Curry said on the show. “It’s the part that always keeps me focused on what I need to do when it comes to my family, when it comes to my job, when it comes to how I treat other people, my appreciation for life and all the good things that happen and how to deal with the bad things that happen.”

He said went to church as a kid and his parents were believers. In the episode, Curry discusses attending Central Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina, and realizing he needed to make his faith his own during a youth service when he was in eighth grade.

“It has to be something that you experience for yourself and a decision that you make for yourself,” Curry said. “So I felt the calling, went down to the altar, and gave my life to Christ. And that became the beginning of my own personal journey.”

In a recent interview with pastor Luke Norsworthy discussing her newly-released book, titled “Fierce Love,” Curry’s mother, Sonya, talked about how she considered getting an abortion when she became pregnant with Stephen and why she included that story in the book.

Had she gone through with it, one of the greatest careers in NBA history would not have happened. Looking back on the experience now, she sees how the Holy Spirit was at work.

“If I would have gone through that, there would have been no Wardell Stephen Curry II,” she told Norsworthy. “And, you know, God had a plan for that child. And just the Spirit interceding at that moment, in a way that I didn’t even know at the moment was happening, just spoke to, again, the purpose of faith.”

 

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The Warriors get six days to recover and prepare the NBA Finals, which start at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on ABC. They will have home-court advantage regardless of whether their opponent is the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat.

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