Seven hundred and eighty-nine games. That's how long it took Steph Curry to cement himself as the greatest shooter in NBA history.
It's a mantle he already held, but one he finally was ready to accept after breaking Ray Allen's NBA record for most career 3-pointers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
"I never wanted to call myself the greatest shooter until I got that record. I'm comfortable saying that now," Curry said Tuesday after the Warriors' 105-96 victory over the New York Knicks.
With Allen's record now in tatters, Curry has shifted his focus to a new pursuit -- making sure he isn't sitting courtside watching someone else top his mark 20 years down the line.
"I think everybody talks about the greatest shooter ever and all that conversation," Curry said. "My respect for Reggie [Miller] and Ray, guys who set the bar for what it meant to be a sharpshooter, to have the longevity as well. For me, I've tried to own that in my journey in terms of range, volume, efficiency. All those things go into it.
"I pride myself on shooting a high percentage. I pride myself on allowing that to help us win games, and now I can pride myself on the longevity of getting to that number that Ray set and hopefully pushing it to a number that nobody can reach. We'll see what happens, but that's something that the balance of volume and efficiency for me is the standard that I wanted to set."
After Tuesday's game, Curry now sits at 2,977 career 3-pointers. He also holds the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a season (402), most games with 10 or more 3-pointers (22), most 3-pointers from 27 or more feet (703), most seasons leading the NBA in threes (seven), and most seasons averaging five made triples per game (four).
Tuesday was the culmination of a journey that's far from over, and Curry's impact on the game of basketball was clear on the night when he officially became the GOAT 3-point shooter.
"There have been figures along the way who have pushed the ball forward,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But Steph is the guy who just grabbed it and ran with it. He’s changed the way the game is played and the way young players think about the game, the way the entire league feels about the shot. There were 82 threes taken tonight. So, on a night when he broke the record, the sum of both teams' 3-point attempts was kind of a testament to Steph's impact on the game."
So, where does Curry go from here? It's hard to fathom how far he can push this number.
Curry keeps himself in peak condition and constantly pushes to fine-tune the greatest shooting stroke in NBA history. As he ages and eventually loses a step, Curry likely will launch even more threes per game.
Curry is on pace to make over 400 3-pointers this season, meaning he'll finish the season somewhere around the 3,200 mark. If you take that number and stretch out over the next three or four seasons -- keep in mind that Curry has never shot below 40 percent from distance in his career and currently is averaging 13.4 triples per game this season -- he'll eclipse the 4,000 mark by that time.
After that, it depends on how long Curry plays, but it's not unreasonable to say he could make 5,000 career 3-pointers if he stays healthy.
Curry's impact on the game means the younger generation will come up shooting more triples than he did early on, and will gun to knock their idol from his historic perch.
Anything is possible, but 5,000 triples could be one of those marks that stands the test of time. It'd be another testament to Curry's standing as an NBA legend.
“I always say that not often do you have the opportunity to interact with somebody great at something, let alone go to work with someone that is the absolute best at something,” Warriors teammate Draymond Green added. “That’s a very rare thing because there are very few people that are the best.
“Steph is the best to ever shoot a basketball, and we get the opportunity to go to work with him every day.”
Curry stands alone as the greatest sharpshooter in history. Now, like every all-time great, his only competition is with himself and time.