The Golden State Warriors have turned the tables on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Just a few days since the world collectively decided that Delly was awesome, Steph was a choker, and everything else in between — while giving such statements the finality and certitude we’d assign to any scientific fact — Game 5 may have murdered all those lazy narratives with a rear-naked choke hold.
For LeBron James, you must be a true, blind, ignorant diehard if you are one of the few still grasping at straws to diminish what he has done in this series. While most of the free world was busy buying into whatever the hell it was with the Matthew Dellavedova hype, James has been carrying a roster full of has-beens, not quite theres, and why-are-they-getting-minutes players to two wins in the NBA Finals. He has done this all while being minus his two best running mates. He has kept two of his team’s three losses close into the final minutes of regulation. He has been the primary reason — to the point of extraterrestrials in their spaceships thinking LeBron is the alien species — for all the positive stuff Cleveland has earned.
Regardless what happens the rest of the way, LeBron James has declared nuclear war on the minds of those who love to come up with “reasons” to tarnish all his accomplishments. Mind you, they will still try, possibly by acting like losing in the Finals is somehow worse than not getting there (dumb), but the jig is up on those members of our human species. They are bottom-feeders — those who can only function by way of looking for the next retweet by saying something absolutely ludicrous. (ESPN employs some of these people, but that’s a different story.)
That’s old news, though. Heck, it was even old before this series actually started. The hearts and minds — and by minds, we are being totally casual with the use of the word — of basketball fans needed a new negative idea to feast upon. Enter the notion that “Steph Curry is soft, or a choker, or not clutch, or mentally weak, or a combination of all those,” with a sprinkle of idiocy lightly glazing over the narratives that emerge from the smallest of small sample sizes.
If Curry’s Game 4 performance wasn’t enough to put that idea to bed, as well as the horrible “Delly is a freaking gawd” idea casual fans love like swiping right on Tinder, he went off in Game 5. By the time Golden State went up 3-2 in the series, Steph Curry finished the game with 37 points, while going 7-13 from three, grabbing 7 manly boards, and ended up being a plus-24. Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.
So what now? Is he still a choker? Is the mentally weak aspect of his being simply on vacation? Seriously, how in the world did the “not clutch” Curry bang crazy three after crazy three in pivotal points of Game 5 if he has a weaker stomach than a kid celebrating his or her 21st birthday with Jack Kerouac?
— NBA (@NBA) June 15, 2015
There is still a lot of basketball to be played in this series — probably enough for knee-jerk reaction folks to come up with a handful of other ideas about every player from each team. This is especially true, considering the fact that those type of people hate to be wrong. You see, it wasn’t that their takes on Curry or LeBron were wrong, it was merely that all the successes these two superstars created will be credited to other people — except, you know, when there’s a chance to pin all the failures of their teams on them.
Curry, who had legitimately struggled in the first few games of this series, has finally made it into the realm of being a true national superstar. The expectations people have for him have changed, and everyone needs to adjust — especially since there will still be people looking to label Curry negatively despite seeing that he is averaging 26 points (on .447 shooting), 5 boards and 5.8 assists per outing in the NBA Finals.
With another few days between games, it will be interesting to see how every opinion, narrative, or hot take — which was stated as factual before Game 5 — will be twisted into something different. Hopefully, if the world is lucky, maybe those folks will stop trying to place blame, and will choose the route of actually giving credit.
If nothing else, these particular NBA Finals should be teaching us a lot about how we think. Mostly, they have taught us that teams can lose, but still be great; players can have bad games, yet still be tremendous; that one play doesn’t define a person’s skills, nor does judging them in the vacuum of their lowest or highest points make a lick of sense; and, at the end of the day, there’s only going to be one winner of the 2015 NBA Finals — even though I don’t think there will be any losers, either.
Steph Curry won’t lose. Nor will LeBron James, David Blatt, Golden State, the Cavaliers — not the city of Cleveland… and certainly not the people watching the games themselves. So, yeah. Start enjoying the awesomeness of it all, and stop looking to take the fun out of all of this, because this has been a really fun ride, and it is almost over…
… thanks to Steph Curry, who was anything but soft or a choker on Sunday night.