In the age of basketball where everything seems questionable, there is something heartwarming about Steph Curry.
While so many other NBA superstars seemed overwhelmed by the pressure created by the conversations that surrounded them, the Warriors guard seems above this fray – unaffected by any of it.
So it’s only fitting that the greatest shooter in the history of the game is now alone at the top of the NBA’s all-time 3-point list.
Curry’s shot is the truth. It is beyond reproach. We’ve known this from his early days as a warrior – there’s something different, special about # 30.
And while Tuesday’s 3-point record is just another checkpoint in his incredible game-changing and franchise-saving Hall of Fame career, it’s good to know that something we do know being true – Curry is the greatest 3- point shooter in the history of the game – can be verified not only by our eyes, but also by the record books.
Curry tied Ray Allen’s record of 2,973 with a final shot from Curry. The No.30 took the ball off the ground, worked on a high screen from Draymond Green – who other than the man who had helped him on 478 3-pointers before? – and got up, fired and knocked back a shot from 30 feet away.
It is a place that ordinary mortals have never dared to shoot.
But Curry made that shot a regular part of his game – a byproduct of necessity (Curry was often the smallest player on the pitch) and the hard-earned confidence of a perfect shot, honed after countless hours in the gym away from games.
Quite a few of his thousands of 3 points have come from that 30 foot distance. In recent years, more and more players have dared to try the same thing.
None of them managed to make it as easy as Curry.
Between the tie of the record and the establishment of a new one, Curry created. He dribbled through, around and in front of Knicks players, drawing attention to himself to create easy shots for his teammates. He was diving to the ground for a loose ball on simple defensive possessions beforehand. What’s another burn to the ground if the Warriors win the game?
And then, with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter, he set the record.
It was fixed, so right, after Curry placed a screen for a teammate under the basket.
Curry has been called an anti-superstar by his coaches and teammates, but he couldn’t help but feel a moment after hitting the record.
He hit his chest, bent over, screamed and was then able to receive the loud applause of the crowd at Madison Square Garden. Say what you like about the Midtown building, but outside of San Francisco (or, in a dream world, Oakland’s Oracle Arena), the MSG is a great place to be. They do big events well, and it was an important moment in the history of the league.
In previous iterations, this record was unknown, unimportant. You wouldn’t stop a nationally televised game when someone sets a new all-time record for blocks, right?
But the undisputed value of Tuesday’s game speaks to Curry the man and Curry the athlete.
No sane person can take root for the man whose game is based on joy and difficult standards.
And those standards he defied have shattered to create a game where Curry’s impact is felt every night.
Basketball is undeniably better placed for his efforts. How many great players can really say it’s part of their heritage?
Curry will continue to add to his number of 3 points scored for years to come. The only question now is, “How far can he go?
At 33, Curry is arguably playing his best basketball in this 13th season in the league. He’s also pulling more 3 points than ever before – a byproduct of a game that has changed due to Curry’s singular abilities.
He’s the only player in NBA history to score over 400 3-point goals in one season, but he could do it again this year.
How to say that this is not his new normal, at least while he is at his peak?
And what is to say that its peak cannot last longer than expected? After all, no one expected that from Curry.
Why not 5,000?
The question will linger, in the background, until his career is officially over. It will be a sad day for basketball.
Tuesday, however, was a happy day. The one who deserved to be in the foreground. The one that will resonate for decades.