Stephen Curry willfully collected his third technical foul of the season Sunday night, a largely performative act to show his displeasure with the technical foul Draymond Green got 52 seconds earlier from the same official, the otherwise faceless J.T. Orr. No big deal, really—Golden State was ahead, 137-114, so the likelihood that his snippiness would affect the game was phenomenally nil. It was safe.
But Curry's cheek when it comes to officials is well known. He T'd up Gediminas Petraitis moments after Petraitis T'd him up a year ago in Los Angeles, and he's thrown his mouthpiece to chastise Scott Wall in Memphis and a ball into the rafters in the 2019 Finals (Ed Malloy the call, Scott Foster the T). In short, he likes a bit of theatre with his outbursts, and because there are so few of them, they tend to stand out a bit. Put another way, pick Karl Malone's most memorable technical foul; take your time—there were 332 of them.
Curry's choice, though, was an overt hat-tip to Green, his longtime running mate in Oakland and now San Francisco, and he used to assiduously mind all the 16th and 17th letters of the alphabet in his behavioral patterns. He painted himself with a countenance of deepest zen, and if it meant he didn't get all the calls he would have gotten if he was a squeakier wheel, it also meant that he didn't get sought out for the special notice Green has gotten through his career. Hey, it was a choice, and Curry never chose to get sent to the principal's office.
But these are different times for the Warriors, who have had to fight to get over .500, still stink on the road, are still searching for a second unit that doesn't put the first to shame, and are still navigating the preseason layout by Green upon the mush of Jordan Poole. So Curry's choice to give the league another two grand atop the four he has already laid out was mostly a notation that whatever the dents in the team's much self-promoted culture are not sufficient to make the team's best player stop minding the shop. He has Green's back, and if he has Green's back, the debate about whether Green is still being ostracized by the rest of the locker room is now officially done.
But the T as back-pat is a very un-Curry way to make the point, given that he has never had this many technicals this early. The most he has ever had in a full season is four, and he is currently on a pace for 12. That's a number Green can appreciate, since he averages roughly 13 a year and just passed DeMarcus Cousins on the all-time F-off list.
And since Curry has now decided that is going to be a habitual as well as theatrical and conscientious objector, he needs to make his technicals bigger and better and more memorable. Standing on the scorers table screaming "I AM SPARTACUS!", or biting the top of David Guthrie's head, or throwing a shoe at Tony Brothers, or getting one at the All-Star Game, or even getting one for dropping shorts during the national anthem ... all things are possible for the new, sassier, more attitudinal Curry. Until they get out of the play-in part of the Western Conference standings, he has to do what must be done, even if it comes with a laugh track and Jeff Van Gundy shaking his head in disapproval.