Dazzled by greats, Stephen Curry shines to win All-Star MVP in Cleveland

All-Star MVP Stephen Curry at 2022 NBA All-Star - 71st NBA All-Star Game
Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images
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Stephen Curry appreciated getting named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary team, of course. But the honor felt somewhat impersonal until he stood shoulder to shoulder with luminaries like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time team was honored at halftime of Sunday’s All-Star game.

“When you see them in person, and you feel like the aura of what they were and are in terms of history of the game, it’s just a whole different experience,” said Curry, one of four playing in the All-Star game and named to the anniversary team. “…We were all kind of just acknowledging how we were like kids in a candy store laughing and just what was actually happening and what that accomplishment actually means, and you look around and see all-time greats that we looked up to coming up in the game. I couldn’t stop smiling. I don’t think I will for a while.

“We didn’t want to leave the stage.”

Thank goodness Curry did.

Curry built on his silly second quarter with an even more preposterous third quarter. His All-Star quarter record for 3-pointers (six in the second) lasted for little more than the 75th-anniversary-team ceremony. He made seven in the third, immediately breaking his own record.

Curry ended up with 16 3-pointers, 50 points and the Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP trophy. Though infamously never NBA Finals MVP in four Finals against the Cavaliers, the Warriors guard earned the individual hardware in Cleveland on Sunday.

“It definitely was something I wanted to experience,” Curry said. “And once I kind of knew I was feeling it, you kind of wanted to ride that wave.”

After launching from beyond the arc – sometimes way beyond the arc – Curry frequently turned with the ball in the air. He skipped back on defense. He danced and played air guitar. He talked to the crowd that booed him during pregame intros after those Finals battles.

Swish. Swish. Swish.

Curry’s 16 3-pointers were the most ever by someone in an NBA game – regular season, postseason or All-Star:

*playoffs

Curry shattered the prior All-Star record (nine by Paul George in 2016).

Curry also nearly broke Anthony Davis‘ All-Star game scoring record (52 points in 2017):

Curry tried hard to break the record. But fatigue showed in his legs. Curry missed his final six 3-point attempts (meaning he was 16-for-21 from beyond the arc at one point!).

Once Team Durant got within a bucket of winning itself, LeBron James took over and hit the game-winner. Curry reminisced about being born in the same Akron hospital as LeBron, meeting LeBron in four Warriors-Cavs NBA Finals, excelling throughout the All-Star game in Cleveland then finally seeing LeBron’s big basket.

“It was kind of a perfect ending,” Curry said.