I will never, ever, ever get bored of watching Stephen Curry shoot.
As the avalanche takes shape, he turns away on a 33-foot attempt with the ball still in mid-air. I begin to wonder just how he manages to do the same thing that he’s done for so many years – only for it to be still as dazzling as the first time.
The NBA was once again reminded of the greatest of Stephen Curry following his historic performance during the league’s All-Star Game.
All-Star weekend had been a bit of a snooze fest up until that point.
The dunk-contest was a let-down and having Machine Gun Kelly repeatedly appearing on our screens was borderline painful. Yet, in the weekend’s final act – Steph Curry conjured up a little magic to put on a show to help erase all that.
Curry exploded for a record-breaking 16 threes and scored 50 points to capture the inaugural Kobe Bryant MVP award.
Team LeBron came out 163-160 victors on the back of a fitting walk-off game-winner by hometown hero LeBron James, turning a rather forgettable weekend in Cleveland into one basketball fans will remember for a long time.
Turning boos to cheers
Curry’s every step was met with resounding boos throughout the weekend. Returning to the city in which he captured three NBA championships – the Cleveland fans weren’t shy in voicing their deep-seated displeasure for an old foe.
It didn’t seem to matter that Curry was in fact born in Ohio. I mean, this was technically a homecoming of sorts for him. His sheer presence irked the home crowd at every turn.
The jeers rained down relentlessly as Curry was introduced pre-game. Unfazed, Curry responded with a smile, and a sarcastic ‘thank you’ in return. Though in his mind, he was probably thinking – ‘I’m about to make it rain.’
And that he did. Curry put on a shooting exhibition all evening, hitting 16 three-pointers on route to 50 points. He was just two points shy of the record for an All-Star game.
Boos and jeers turned into ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as the crowd witnessed the greatest shooting display in All-Star history. Curry’s collection of deep-bombs obliterated the previous All-Star game record of 9 three-pointers made.
Prior to the game, it was announced that Curry planned to raise money for the Cleveland Metro School District through his All-Star game stats. With $1,000 raised for every point, $3,000 for every three-pointer, and $10,000 if he were to win MVP.
He ended up raising $108,000 for Cleveland schools, a tough irony since so many locals spent a good part of the weekend booing him.
Steph Curry saves All-Star weekend
Saturday’s dunk contest was so bad that critics were calling it the worst ever.
Jalen Green’s never-ending dunk attempt had even Kareem Abdul-Jabar heading for the exit early. It was their marquee event of the season, and the NBA needed a saviour. Luckily for them, Chef Curry had something lined up.
Curry was already cooking by half-time, connecting on eight triples before the break. Though the third quarter, as it so often is, was his masterpiece.
When he’s in the zone, Curry’s game is built on just trying things that would normally end in embarrassment for most. His dare and creativity are what sets him apart – and what makes him so entertaining to watch in an All-Star format.
The shackles are off and he’s free to roam wherever his imagination takes him.
If you didn’t watch the game, you might’ve heard about Curry’s 16 threes and thought – ‘Pfft so what it’s an All-Star game, they don’t play defense.’ Take a look at the highlights and you will be sold.
He was letting it fly from the logo, turning around without even watching the ball in flight. He was shooting them off one leg, and at times with a defender pressed up on him. And he was somehow making all those shots, knocking down seven threes to amass 21 points in the third quarter alone.
When I witness Steph in full flight, I can’t help laughing to myself and shaking my head in disbelief at the things he does.
Last night – Curry provoked a similar reaction from Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade and Reggie Miller live on TNT’s national broadcast. I guess, when a dude is splashing 40-footers that don’t even graze rim, what else can you do but laugh.
A historic occasion
This year’s All-Star Game was a celebratory occasion. 25 years previous, Cleveland also played host to All-Star weekend – as the league honored the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. On Sunday night the NBA fittingly returned to Ohio, in celebration of the 75th-anniversary team.
Star-studded icons of the past – from ‘the Logo’ Jerry West to Magic Johnson all gathered in the same building. And even ‘His Airness’ himself, Michael Jordan made a rare public appearance.
In 1997, Curry was only 9 years old. Yet on this night, he was fittingly among the greats of the game who were honored during the half-time ceremony. His whole performance was a celebration of greatness.
However, unlike many of the legends, he shared the stage with – Curry is noticeably only 6-foot-3. He can’t do it with power, height, or athleticism. He could never be dominant in the traditional sense of the NBA, so he had to do it with pure skill. That skill was on full display Sunday night.
After the game, Allen Iverson took to Instagram in appreciation of Curry, saying: ‘all of my life watching basketball and seeing all the greats, this man is undoubtedly different.’
All-Star Sunday was a fitting showcase to honor the NBA’s 75th season. On a night for the ages, with basketball royalty in the house – Curry put on a performance for the ages.