For the fourth time since 2015, the Golden State Warriors are the NBA champions. But for the first time, Stephen Curry was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
A centerpiece in each of the previous three championship teams for Golden State, Curry finally cemented himself as a Finals MVP with a 34-point, seven-rebound and seven-assist performance in Game 6 on Thursday to help the Warriors defeat the Boston Celtics, 103-90, and clinch the title. The performance gave him 30 points or more in three straight games at Boston.
In six games against the Celtics, Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He shot 48.0% from the field and 41.8% from 3-point range.
Overwhelmed by emotion, he thanked God following the game.
“I’m so proud of our group. I thank God every day I get to play this game at the highest level with some amazing people,” Curry told ESPN. “We know this is what it’s all about — playing for a championship and what we’ve been through the last three years. Beginning of the season, nobody thought we’d be here except everybody on this court right now. It’s amazing. Very surreal, though. Very surreal.”
"Beginning of the season, nobody thought we'd be here except everybody on this floor right now." pic.twitter.com/tHBY3Alg5D
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 17, 2022
Later, in the postgame press conference after receiving his MVP honor, Curry again praised God and noted that this championship was special considering how much the Warriors struggled the previous two seasons.
“God is great,” he said. “The ability to be able to be on this stage and play with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything [they had] to try to get to the finish line, this one hits different for sure. … It’s special. Just all the work that went into it, all the faith and belief, and everybody in that locker room that’s getting to spray champagne around that locker room, everybody mattered in that process.”
The Warriors won the NBA championship in 2015, 2017 and 2018, but lost in the Finals in 2019 to the Toronto Raptors. Struggles then fell upon the franchise, so much so that the Warriors found themselves drafting in the lottery in the 2021 NBA Draft.
With a healthy Klay Thompson back from injury this season, the core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green led the Warriors back to the Finals and back to another championship. And this time, it was Curry’s time to shine.
In Game 6, he hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, including one with 6:15 left in the quarter that gave the Warriors a 22-point lead. He celebrated by pointing to his ring finger as Boston called for timeout. His MVP moment came in Game 4, though, when he poured in 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to give the Warriors a 107-97 win and even the series 2-2.
The Warriors went on to win the next two to take the series.
Already regarded as the best shooter the NBA has ever seen, Curry can now add “NBA Finals MVP” to a resume that includes four championships to go with two league MVP awards, two scoring titles and an All-Star Game MVP.
Describe Stephen Curry with three letters. pic.twitter.com/5IG4U0QF83
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 17, 2022
Through all the success, he’s kept his faith in God out front. He’s playing for an “audience of One,” he said recently while appearing on a podcast with Christian musician Tauren Wells.
“My journey’s my own and I’ve been given this position, these challenges, these skills, this attitude and point of view on life, and God doesn’t make any mistakes with anything that happens in my life,” Curry said.
Curry credited his mother, Sonya Curry, for helping establish his foundation of faith, and he said his childhood consisted of church on Wednesdays and Sundays, along with Bible study at 6 a.m. before school started.
“We know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, and for me that was something I really believed,” Curry said on the podcast. “That whatever I put my mind to, whatever I decided I was going to really work at and have that spirit of accomplishment, that I was going to be able to live it out and that has carried me all the way through whatever the challenge was.”
Curry likely has plenty more accolades that he’ll add to his name and trophies he’ll add to his collection before his career is done. His faith in God is what keeps him grounded as more and more praise is heaped upon him, he said three years ago in a Facebook series called “Stephen vs. The Game.”
“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.”
That faith is also what helped him believe he could return to the NBA Finals, despite the struggles he and the Warriors endured the last two seasons. While holding the MVP trophy Thursday night, he made sure to praise everyone else who helped the Warriors win another championship.
“Everybody on this stage had a part in this,” he said. “From the front office, coaches, players. At the beginning of the year, what were they saying? We weren’t even on the radar. Now we’re here with two trophies, and this one means a lot.”
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