The NBA All-Star Game That Shouldn't Have Been But Was quickly turned into the Steph Curry Show. From the 3-Point Contest to the game itself, Curry's greatest gifts of joy and competitiveness shined brightest in Atlanta.
Curry went full inferno in the first round of the 3-Point Contest, setting a new record of 31 points. He then had us on the edge of our seat, jumping off as he won the contest on his final shot. Curry did so with an untucked yellow jersey, looking like he was treating the event as some side show. His competitiveness, however, was on full display, firing off a huge fist pump as the final ball swished in.
Then came the All-Star Game where he dazzled with half-court shots, no-look 3-pointers and a non-stop smile going from rivals to teammates with LeBron James. He even played along with LeBron's pre-game chalk toss before dropping 28 points and getting the most fan votes for the game's MVP.
Curry did this all in a meaningless game that probably shouldn't have happened in the middle of a pandemic. He's the gift that keeps giving, balancing joy and competitiveness. But it was his answer after the game that really gave us insight into the mind of the greatest Warrior ever.
"I have a lot to accomplish, I don't have anything to prove," Curry said to reporters. "There's a little subtle difference there."
Perfectly said. There is a subtle difference, and it's clear on a nightly basis that Curry knows it. He's a three-time champion, a two-time MVP and the creator of the modern NBA. He might as well already have a statue outside of Chase Center with an empty spot in the rafters for his jersey retirement.
Still, people with salty Twitter fingers and commentators looking to get their name out there find ways to question Curry. Can he carry an offense by himself? Is he still the best point in the NBA? Will the Warriors win another ring? None of those questions matter to Curry. His voice within does, and it's loud and clear every time he laces his sneakers and steps on the court.
Curry doesn't have anything left to prove. He is an all-time great. He is the greatest shooter to play the game. He can retire today and be a Hall of Famer. That doesn't stop his fire from burning, though. Don't discount the laughs, the shimmies or dancing down the court. This is a competitor at the highest level.
While the outside noise might not matter, Curry hears it. He knows whose voice matters the most, and that's the one pushing him every single day. That doesn't mean he doesn't want to prove you wrong. That doesn't mean he doesn't have extra room on his trophy case, that he doesn't have a burning desire to be crowned a champion yet again.
There's nothing left for Steph Curry to prove, but he still has a whole lot to accomplish. He knows the subtle difference and you should, too. His competitiveness is his joy. Don't get mistaken, enjoy it every time he wears that No. 30 Warriors jersey.
This story is far from over.