NBA legends rarely say that one of their championships means more to them than the others, often comparing them to their children — they are different but each is special in its own way.
Draymond Green broke with that tradition and said 2022 means the most to him because of how far the Warriors had fallen off after Kevin Durant left and how they had to work to get back to the mountaintop. Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Ashley Nicole Moss, Stephen Curry echoed that sentiment.
“Absolutely. You don’t find me ugly crying on the court for no reason. That raw emotion that came out after Game 6 kind of signaled how much this meant to me, how much this meant to our team. The first [title], you don’t really know what you’re doing until you accomplish it and then you’re celebrating. The next two were kind of validation for trying to remain champions. But after these last three years, winning that one definitely the most special.”
Maybe Curry is saying that still on the high of winning this title. Perhaps he will feel differently a decade or two from now, but this banner should be special.
The 2022 title was not one the Warriors were expected to win. Even heading into last season’s playoffs, there was a “they have the talent, the potential, but can they play up to the best versions of themselves consistently” question about this team. The Suns were clear favorites (they’d been to the Finals the season before and led the league in wins). Things broke right for Golden State, but the team earned it by living up to the potential on the roster. Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and others stepped up in their roles and made this a title team.
Now the Warriors enter the season with title expectations and a target on their back. They’re used to that role. But in a ridiculously deep West, there is very little margin for error even for Golden State. The pressure is back on the Warriors.