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NBA

Steph Curry: The Return of The NBA’s Most Popular Player

The two-time MVP and three-time champion made Golden State count for the first time in 58 games.

The man who has single-handedly influenced a drastic shift in the way the NBA game is played and is indisputably known as a Top 3 shooter in the game’s history returned to the court last night after missing 58 games with a broken hand. 

From 2016-2018, Steph Curry had the highest-selling jersey in the NBA. He’s still arguably the most popular player in the sport. Curry, who hasn’t played since October 30th, returned to a very different Golden State team than the one who he led to three NBA Championships. 

“It felt great..there was a lot of energy,” Curry said in his postgame presser. “Just getting back out there on the floor. It was kind of a cool moment with the energy in the building.

We had some good moments …for us, it was a step in the right direction and we can build off of this.”

The sports outlets didn’t make that big a deal of it, although Curry is considered an iconic player, Golden State’s so irrelevant that his return alone couldn’t make the narrative switch from a focus on the newly-formed Super Duos in the Western Conference and their success.  

He did get acknowledged by one of his main rivals. A VIP in NBA circles to say the least. 

That was Bron giving props to a guy who he respects and acknowledging the fact that he knows Golden State will be a force to reckon with again in future seasons. 

Right now, Curry’s once impenetrable squad is last in the Western Conference at 14-49 and hasn’t had Klay Thompson on the court for the entire season. Kevin Durant left to BK via free agency, but even if he was still around he’d be out with the ruptured Achilles that he courageously suffered in the Finals last season. 

While all of the attention has shifted to the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately Lakers and Clippers, anybody with a brain knows that Golden State is retooling and resting for next season when they will have a Top 3 Draft pick to go along with the addition of Andrew Wiggins, a healthy Splash Brothers, and Draymond Green. Green can’t wait to get back to his role as antagonizer and team facilitator. 

Golden State lost the game 121-113 as Norman Powell went banoodles with 37 points for the defending World Champion Raptors, but the only thing Golden State fans cared about was the return of their franchise player.

Steph wasted no time reminding folks why he’s a two-time MVP. Golden State was immediately more exciting than it’s been the last five months. 

Curry finished with a solid return game. 

When asked about the support he’s gotten from players around the league, Curry said, “There’s a brotherhood throughout the league. I don’t really follow the social media talk and that stuff in terms of people hitting me and wishing me luck… that’s a good feeling.” 

All this talk about guys being great shooters gets put into proper perspective when Curry steps on the court. The energy in the building was different than it has been all season at Chase Center. Just a reminder of how influential Curry has been. 

So many imitators out there, it was great to have the original Splash Brother AKA “Mr. Airmail” AKA “Chef Curry with the shot boy!”  back on the court doing all of the things he does well from passing to leading the team, hitting incredible shots, making the fans lose their popcorn. 

The TNT crew touched on Curry’s return and Kenny Smith gave some insight on what makes a superstar and why Curry is the epitome of one. 

Kenny Smith: “The 5 ways to become a superstar; you have to be able to dominate the game in three or more….every night. There’s scoring, rebounds, assists. There’s defense and then there’s pace of the game. Steph Curry can control the pace of the game. You have to play fast. He can score and assist and tonight he rebounded. So four of the five categories he dominated. Add (Steph’s) leadership to that he’s got almost all the qualities that great players in this league have.”

That’s no cap for sure. Welcome back Steph.

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