Return of the Prodigal Son: He who kills Curry, Curry dies

Stephen Curry returns to the slopes after a nearly blank year and revolutionizes the competition that he once transformed. The man who never left returns.


The Warriors are not a typical dynasty. And they have had, beware, some of the defects inherent to great champions, those that involve the team in extremely complicated balances with, paradoxically, more fragile ties the greater the success. Every franchise that earns a lot in a certain period of time begins to experience symptoms of fatigue and, drenched in triumphs, is gradually diluted in a race against time in which egos, injuries and / or retirements are revealed (among other things ) that end with a project that goes from touching glory to sinking, on many occasions, into a more or less serious crisis that makes everyone forget, too quickly, everything that has been previously achieved. It is common to see these symptoms in historical dynasties like the Bulls, where the war between offices and the bench (Jerry Krause against Phil Jackson and everything that the Zen Master was behind) stopped an aging project in 1998, when it could have continued. With the Magic Lakers, in the 80s, Kareem's retirement ended and the exhaustion generated by the marathon sessions of a Pat Riley who was the maker but ended up agreeing to leave with Jerry Buss. Bird's Celtics weighed on Bird's age and back, with Duncan's Spurs, another atypical entity in substance and form, only time could. And with the Lakers of Kobe and Shaq they finished ... well, Kobe and Shaq.

The Warriors, who have had problems with Draymond Green, have endured the arrival and departure of Kevin Durant and have gone, of course, through the eternal sainete of injuries, that to everyone they come to you, sooner or later. However, the capital importance of the project, its impact on the game or its ability to reinvent what they have invented, makes them stand out from the rest. With five consecutive Finals behind them, they have achieved something that no one has seen since Bill Russell's Celtics, they have helped increase the legend of LeBron James while feeding on the myth and enlarging their own and have emerged victorious from impossible eliminations just like, in in the past, they made other historic teams. Three rings fill the windows of a team whose biggest argument is, in fact, having changed a competition that has undergone a decade full of changes and constant revolution, since the empowerment of the players initiated by LeBron in 2010, The Decision through , until the era of the triples that they introduced in Golden State and developed to its most tedious and shameless extreme the Rockets of a Harden that, with Mike D'Antoni and, above all, Daryl Morey at the head, have tried the most difficult yet : beat the Warriors playing as the Warriors. The problem they have had, of course, is that they are not the Warriors.

Eternity is reserved for this type of historical teams, the dominant ones, those that make winning seem easy but, at the same time, are more aware than anyone that reality is radically different, practically the opposite and cruelly undervalued by those who think that great champions are oblivious to suffering. The other side of the League was suddenly found by the Warriors, with a year in which they went completely to nothing, from the almost reverential respect that injuries had had for them, to a discrete attack of the crudest reality. The team led by Steve Kerr, a genius who knows how to go unnoticed but who is, in his own right, one of the most attractive and interesting personalities in the history of sport, suffered the bitterness of injuries in the 2019 Finals, those that stretched until they looked immortal in Game 5, with Durant officially in dry dock and the Raptors ahead and on the upswing. From there the Warriors came out alive, just as they endured until the last minutes of the sixth round, with the added loss of a Klay Thompson who has collided head-on with the hell of the Achilles tendon when he was about to return to the courts. Stephen Curry's best lieutenant, the spiritual sustainer of a lofty franchise in management of egos and group chemistry that has not been valued enough but remains intact despite time, rings and sometimes questionable behavior on track and , also sometimes controversial outside of it, by Draymond Green.

With Durant saying goodbye on the way to the Big Apple and Iguodala lost in Memphis and emerging in Miami, the Warriors said goodbye to the two Finals MVPs they have had (Durant twice), but kept the block that had led them to success , that big three that has remained in a duet without Klay and a coach who is much more than that. And yet the best thing for them has not been the return from that trip to nowhere they were last year, but the realization that their hearts and souls are still as alive as the first day. That that essential link personified by Stephen Curry maintains the magic with which he conquered the MVP of the season in 2015 and in 2016, that year of 73 victories. And that their movements on the court, as if they levitated, propel a historic team in the most competitive Western Conference as if they had not played five scarce games last year. The curse of the Chase Center ends after a move of astronomical costs that has been to lose and not have an audience. Curry, in his eternal ability to change things, has driven his team, who lost 26 and 39 points in their first two games but have five victories in the last eight, reaching a record of 7-6 (more than half of the victories they achieved throughout the past year) which leaves them in seventh position in the West, but in full swing and with the return of the prodigal son as an objective reason to smile.

Curry is at 28.2 points (the maximum of his career), 5.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists, he shoots with 44% in field goals and 36.6% in triples, 94% in free throws ( the maximum of his career outside of last year, when he only played 5 games) and does what he wants on the court. The historic 62 points to the Blazers are already part of the annals of the North American competition, while the comeback against the Clippers that caused Kawhi's anger was forged with 38 points and 11 assists. Curry is in one of those seasons in which he can shine: on the way to 33 years, he has rope for a while, and the absence of Klay will allow him to assume all the leading role in attack (he shoots 20.6 more shots per game than ever in his career), just like Jordan did in 1987-88 (37.1 points per game), Kobe in 2005-06 (35.4), or Harden year after year. The first two, of course, didn't always do it because the rest of the time they collected rings or threw themselves into it; La Barba has a different history and the championship is elusive, perhaps, for assuming so much. Curry can take advantage of the injury of his best lieutenant to set a record in a team that, without Klay, is not a candidate for the ring. And yet, the best news for the Warriors and almost the entire world of sports is that Curry is back to who he was, smiles on the court, has a good time, has great chemistry and is already a veteran star. and amply consolidated that he will aspire, if all goes well, to his third MVP of the season.

The Warriors have always been a collective capable of integrating Kevin Durant and favoring group chemistry, from Joe Lacob and Bob Myers to Stephen Curry to Steve Kerr, adjusting salaries, displaying integrity and enormous group work and with the capacity to square completely different but incredibly complementary personalities to achieve success. And, being the champions of modern basketball and the triple era, being a group and an entity that is historical as a whole and not because of its personalities, the face of the project has always been Curry. Critics, minority but noisy (and also incomprehensible), have weighed heavily to judge him for the 2016 Finals or for finding shelter (not looking for it) under the inexhaustible shadow of a Durant that overshadowed him (like everyone else) in the right moment. And yet, the accolades multiply his figure and vindicate the historical role he has within an NBA that has been his and of which he is, along with LeBron, the main face of the last five years (or more). Curry is the man who changed basketball within the team that changed basketball. And he continues with his impossible triples, his highlights for the collection (one that is starting to be very long), his eternal smile and his festive celebrations. Between the coronavirus, injuries and a rather questionable start to the season (in its most general scope), Stephen Curry rears his head. And that is, without a doubt, the best news in recent weeks. The light in the darkness. The proof that he is still alive. The return of the prodigal son. Who Curry kills, Curry dies. The star that has never left is back.

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