For three years, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant stood atop the basketball world.
They were two pillars for the greatest collection of talent in NBA history. Three years and two titles flew by, and then, it was over.
When free agency opened, with Curry reportedly on a plane en route to meet Durant in New York, the two-time NBA Finals MVP decided to leave the Warriors and join the Brooklyn Nets.
Despite KD's decision being made before he got there, Curry continued on. He wasn't going to pitch Durant on staying with the Warriors as some believed. He had wanted to check on his friend and teammate who ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors earlier, but Curry had been in Asia on his Under Armour tour. He also wanted to give the proper closure to the type of three-year stretch the NBA might never see again.
"I knew full well it was decision time, whatever way he was going to go,” Curry told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson at the American Century Golf Championship celebrity tournament about his meeting with Durant.
“There was no need to pitch. He knows what we’re about and what we accomplished. He just had to make a decision that makes him happy. That’s what everybody wants to do in this league. It was more about a respect factor, not letting the BS of this league get in the way of our relationship, and not let it change who I am or anything like that. I feel like he just knew what he wanted. And at the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for as a player.”
Durant had said all along he couldn't be recruited. After all, he is Kevin Durant. Curry knew that. So he traveled to New York to meet his fellow all-time great to show respect to the three years they had together and close the chapter on their dynastic run in the proper way.
As Durant begins his lengthy Achilles rehab, Curry will enter next season having to take a new approach. With Durant gone and Klay Thompson out until at least February after tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the Finals, Curry and Draymond Green will have to shoulder a heavy load to keep the Warriors afloat in a revamped Western Conference.
At 31 years old, it will be a lot to ask of Curry, but a challenge he undoubtedly is ready to take on.