Golden State star Stephen Curry was named Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals on Thursday after leading the Warriors to a 4-2 triumph over the Boston Celtics in the championship series.
Curry, a two-time regular-season MVP, captured his fourth title, but it marked the first time in seven Finals appearances that he captured one of the few accolades previously missing from his resume.
“This one is different, for sure,” Curry said after the Warriors polished off the Celtics 103-90 for a 4-2 victory in the championship series.
Curry scored 34 points, pulled down seven rebounds and handed out seven assists.
His series average of 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists per game marked his best numbers in a Finals.
With the Warriors up by 22 points in the third quarter Curry confidently pointed to his ring finger.
But when it finally became clear they had weathered Boston’s comeback bid in the fourth, an emotional Curry was smiling through tears.
“Without him, none of this happens,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s contribution to four titles in eight years. “Steph ultimately is why this run has happened.
“I’m happy for everybody, but I’m thrilled for Steph,” Kerr added of a player who in addition to two regular-season MVPs owned an All-Star MVP nod, two scoring titles and the all-time lead in three-pointers.
“To me, this is his crowning achievement in what’s already been an incredible career,” Kerr said.
Some were shocked when the 2015 Finals MVP went to Curry’s teammate Andre Iguodala, who put in a sterling defensive effort against LeBron James.
In 2017 and 2018 the award went to Kevin Durant, who then opted to bolt for Brooklyn as a free agent.
Curry, 34, slogged through the down seasons, with Splash Brother teammate Klay Thompson sidelined by injury for more than two years and the Warriors languishing with the worst record in the league two seasons ago.
This time, Curry was a unanimous selection as Finals MVP — but when asked about it he said the championship was the most important thing, especially after years of uncertainty.
“These last two months of the playoffs, these last three years, this last 48 hours, every bit of it has been an emotional roller coaster on and off the floor,” Curry said. “You’re carrying all of that on a daily basis to try to realize a dream and a goal like we did tonight.
“And you get goosebumps just thinking about, you know, all those snapshots and episodes that we went through to get back here, individually, collectively.
“And that’s why I said I think this championship hits different. That’s why I have so many emotions, and still will, just because of what it took to get back here.
“So we hear all that, and you carry it all and you try to maintain your purpose, not let it distract you, but you carry that weight and to get here, it all comes out. It’s special.”