Stephen Curry, the NBA’s only unanimous MVP in history, hasn’t gotten any less valuable to the Golden State Warriors. His player efficiency rating is through the roof, and he’s inches from a second foray into the 50-40-90 club. Stats aside, the Warriors are struggling without him while he nurses a “tweaked” ankle. Why? Teammate Kevin Durant puts it simply: Steph “is the system“. Houston’s James Harden has (for now) locked up the popular vote for 2017-18 MVP, but Steph could make a run at his first Finals MVP award this year–if he can make it past Harden’s beefed-up Rockets, of course. The two-time champ is nothing if not intensely motivated to lead his Golden State Warriors to their third NBA title in four years.
We hope Steph’s recovered from his surprise birthday party, which made waves on Twitter: ribs, appearances by Paramore and E-40, questionable dancing from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and two of his superstar teammates courting his grandmother with Luther Vandross karaoke were a few highlights. In the meantime, take in some of our favorite basketball highlights Steph has graced us with over the years:
His Record-Setting 13 Three-Pointers Against the Pelicans
Steph loves records. Breaking them, setting them, breaking his own–he’s, uh, good at basketball. So when he missed all ten of his three-point attempts in a game against the Lakers in November 2016, we were disappointed when he couldn’t extend his NBA-record 157 straight games with a three-pointer made (that’s just about two entire years, people). He was suddenly human… for three days. On November 7, Curry scored a bizarre 13 three-pointers in a home win over the Pelicans. Breaking a record he was already holding, of course (12, shared with Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall).
His Unreal Game-Winner in OKC
So let’s go back to that game, the one where he set the very record he broke in November 2016. Nine months earlier, in a regular season game against the OKC team fated to give Golden State a run for their money in the Western Conference Finals, Steph hit 12 threes in Chesapeake Energy Arena. That twelfth three-pointer came on a shot any coach not named Kerr would have nightmares about: pulling up from 40 with the game tied, in lieu of taking a timeout and advancing with six seconds left? Preposterous… for anyone but Curry. The Dubs collected win #62 of the historic 73 on this night.
This Picture-Perfect Assist
No dribbles necessary. Zaza Pachulia easily wins a jump ball against Paul George. Draymond Green gains possession, taking a chance on a Hail Mary pass to his point guard, somehow already at the opposite end of the court. Under the basket, Steph has to think fast, tossing a blind lob to a trailing Kevin Durant. Jeff Teague and Myles Turner are mummified. Ladies and gents, your 2016-17 #AssistOfTheYear.
Steph’s been sidelined with an ankle injury, and we have to wonder if Rudy Gobert is smirking with vengeance. Last May, Steph and the Warriors waged war on Utah’s defense in the first game of an ultimate sweep. Primary target? Defensive Player of the Year hopeful Gobert. Stranded by his teammates on Curry Island, Gobert had little choice but to at least attempt to lock down the baby-faced assassin out at the three-point line. Sadly, Curry left him for dead. But not before giving him one last dance.
His Breakout Season
Returning from a disappointing, injury-riddled third-year campaign, Steph came for blood in 2012-13. He didn’t just put Golden State on the map: he was beginning to redesign the entire map of the NBA, which has centered the Warriors ever since. While leading the Bay Area to their first NBA playoff appearance since 2007, Steph was working on his most significant record-shattering accomplishment to date: 272 made three-pointers in a season. While he’d best that total in 2015 (and eclipse that total in 2016), it’s absolutely worth looking back at this chapter of the legend of Curry. Grab a snack, sit back, and watch all 272 splashes.