Steph curry’s humble request was a reminder that he’s anything but a typical superstar 9gag memes


Warriors coach Steve Kerr has made it a policy to not announce his starting lineup ahead of games this postseason — it’s become a bit of a running joke between him and us in the media seven games in — but he slipped up in a radio interview Wednesday, admitting that Curry will start in Game 3.

But the fact that Curry came off the bench in Game 2 is a testament to his unique, all-around greatness and provided a key insight into why the Warriors are on the prowl for a fourth-straight NBA Finals berth this June. Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) warms up with assistant coach Bruce Fraser before the start of their NBA Western Conference semifinals game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May, 1, 2018. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Before Game 2, Kerr made it clear that Curry would not be on a minutes restriction in his return after five-plus weeks sidelined with a Grade 2 sprain of his left MCL. This, along with everything else Kerr said in the build-up, made it easy to believe that Curry would be in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s contest.

The notion was that the Warriors played so well without Curry in Game 1 that him coming off the bench would help in replicating that performance — something Curry’s teammates said was critical ahead of Game 2 and, frankly, a bit tougher to do with Curry’s return. (After all, why try hard on defense when you have Stephen Curry on your team?)

This is just another example of how few peers — if any — Curry has in the league. Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) gestures after making a basket in the first period of their NBA Western Conference semifinals game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Juxtapose Curry’s humility (whether it was misguided or not is another conversation) with what is happening in Oklahoma City with Carmelo Anthony — a player who hasn’t won anything but one scoring title in his 15 years in the NBA — who in his season-ending interview was defiant to the point of delusion over his role on a underachieving team that he did little to help and plenty to hinder this season.

“I think everybody knows that I’ve sacrificed kind of damned near everything,” Anthony said. “Sacrificed my game for the sake of the team and was willing to sacrifice anything and everything in order for this situation to work out. So it’s something I really have to think about, if I really want to … finish out my career as this type of player, knowing that I have so much left in the tank and I bring so much to the game of basketball.”

Again, compare that to Curry — a player whose ascendancy has turned the Warriors’ franchise from the laughing stock of the NBA into the model organization in professional sports — suggesting to Kerr that he comes off the bench so that the team can keep a good thing going.

This isn’t new, either. Remember, the man who had just won the first ever unanimous MVP in NBA hisotry and who came back too early in the 2016 playoffs because the Warriors needed him — not because his sprained right MCL was 100 percent — only to come up short in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, pitched Kevin Durant, in person, on coming to Oakland in the summer of 2016, and then sent text messages after the meeting was over, just to hammer home the point, telling Durant that he didn’t care about being the face of the franchise or shoe sales,

Two years into this grand experiment, Curry has backed up what he’s said. Despite prodigious talent, abundant success, relentless attention, and plenty of possibilities for egos to develop and clash, the Warriors’ team chemistry is strong as any team’s in the NBA.

(If Curry did have one, it would have shown up Tuesday — if I was in his lowtops in a strange Freaky Friday situation, I would have inserted myself into the game after watching three minutes of Nick Young.) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) celebrates on the bench in the third quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Superstars are supposed to be the most alpha of the alpha males. They’re supposed to be aggressively passive-aggressive (LeBron James), exhaustingly over-aggressive (Russell Westbrook), downright abrasive (Kobe Bryant), or competitive to the point of possible mental illness (ask Kerr about the time Michael Jordan punched him).