Nothing kills a vibe quite like a narrative hunt, and the most derivatively stupid narrative being trotted out before the NBA Finals that begin tonight is the notion that Stephen Curry needs a Finals MVP to validate his legacy.
It’s the kind of thought that made “fuck right off” an important part of our sporting lexicon, because Curry needs nothing. Nobody on either the Golden State Warriors or Boston Celtics actually needs anything. This series is entirely and comprehensively about what the players want, and what they want is, in order, A) a parade B) a ring the size of an infant’s head, and C) as much shut up as the rest of the world can muster.
When the topic turned to 2017 and whether Kevin Durant was double-teamed less than Curry when the Warriors boxed and planted the Cleveland LeBrons, we knew we were in for a torturous ride between series. When you re-litigate something this old and pointless, it doesn’t matter that Durant took the bait. Durant always takes the bait. It’s like convincing a dog to refuse too long for that treat you hold in your hand. At this stage of the season, when we are dealing with current Celtics and modern Warriors, 2017 means nothing whatsoever.
But this is what we get when there are too many days between games and television producers who stopped having original thoughts when LeBron James went to Miami have hours of commercially viable time to eat. Arguing about a trophy not named after Larry O’Brien is the sign of either a liar or a moron, unless it’s the sign of a desperate careerist.
Fortunately, both Boston and Golden State are free of such mundane agendae. Steve Kerr has long believed that when you win, credit finds you, not the other way around, and if Ime Udoka doesn’t feel the same way, it’s only because he just started this process and is years (OK, months) away from his first underachieiving and agenda-riddled team and the Tylenol omelettes they produce.
We will not lay out the series for you because as we all know, spelling “analysis” starts with the four letters that prove why analysis is boring. This is a series to be savored if there is savoring to be done, and we suspect the series would be just as delightfully hilarious if the Finals MVP candidates were Al Horford and Kevon Looney.
Besides, legacies happen only when a player decides not to play any more. Otherwise, it’s just one more page in a comic book. Put another way, if Curry wins the MVP and then retires to hunt and kill small endangered species in an Animal Planet special, his legacy will probably change from “Great shooter, great leader, industry changer” to “Jesus Q. Christ, when did he become such a shithead?”
Curry is still making his legacy. So is Jayson Tatum, and so are the Warriors and Celtics. Their legacy as spelled out by this series is a simple, elegant, as and then in 2022, they did this thing, or, they didn’t do this thing. Nobody is getting fired unless there is game-fixing, and nobody is being waived out of the league unless he decides to go to Cabo until things blow over. This is a simple matter of winning a ride on a downtown float, nothing more and nothing less. If you need additional perks from your basketball, then maybe life just isn’t for you.
There are just games, and in a just universe there will be seven of them. The NBA has assured us that these are the two best teams in the league and that they will both play their best and you will damned well be entertained, you spoiled little bastards. Now go buy a hoodie and keep your yap shut.
But if the galactic pixies whose guidance we desperately need are on the job, your NBA Finals most valuable player will be Otto Porter, Jr., unless it’s Al Horford. Nothing says entertainment quite like legacy wranglers yanking off their own heads in rage while Curry’s legacy is reduced from “one of the game’s best players ever” to “one of the game’s best players ever.”
Besides, who doesn’t want Al Horford to be happy? He’s a congenial enough fellow, and he’s more than done his time. And as far as that goes, Porter is named Otto after his dad Otto, and a palindromic first name is really all the legacy anyone should ever crave.