Stephen Curry pioneered the NBA's three-point revolution. The Golden State Warriors guard rose from NCAA Tournament darling to NBA MVP by living beyond the arc sustained by a lightning-quick release. He became a defender's nightmare. Off the dribble, running feverishly around screens, Curry's mastered finding open, or not so open, (it doesn't seem to matter that much) looks.
Since he burst onto the scene at Davidson, Curry has become the undisputed king of the three-pointer. Holding the NCAA single-season three-point record, as well as becoming the all-time leader for career three-pointers in the NBA will do that. But the offensive juggernaut he's become has been the key to the Golden State's success over their title runs.
With ball-handling skills that break ankles and a jump shot that is the dictionary definition of "nothing but net," Curry seems to have fulfilled the offensive prophecy that Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni dreamed about when the "Seven Seconds or Less" Suns ruled the Western Conference. With offensive weapons Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins just an assist away from scoring a bucket of their own, Curry becomes dangerous with or without the ball.
After all, you don't go up 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals against Luka Doncic and the Mavs without knowing how to score.
But for fans, his pregame routine is maybe the coolest thing in his shooting repertoire.
Steph Curry's Pregame Tunnel Shot
His pregame ritual has become something of a legend. Pitter-patter dribbling drills, fountains of jump shots, free throws — Before the game is as much a show as the game itself. Prior to home games formerly at Oracle Arena, Curry capped off pregame warmups with a shot from the parking lot—almost.
Curry camps in the tunnel leading to the Dubs locker room. He stands slightly behind the backboard. The rim hiding just over the self-created obstacle. An Oracle Arena security guard feeds Curry the ball. He launches.
It's one of those shots you try when you're throwing up prayers in HORSE and hope you get lucky. Curry's deciphered the angle and power he needs to make it. It may take a few tries, but he eventually makes it and celebrates with some shimmy or dance reserved only for the NBA's Golden Boy.
The entire NBA has witnessed the heave. From Western Conference rivals like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks to Eastern Conference foes like the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks, the signature tunnel shot signals Curry's ready to go.
The shots days ended when the Warriors moved to the Chase Center in downtown San Francisco this past season. Curry tried to replicate the shot, but the new tunnel is almost entirely behind the basket. RIP.
The former MVP suffered a broken hand last October against the Phoenix Suns. In addition to the absence of Klay Thompson, the Warriors downturned to the bottom of the league. Curry returned for one game versus the Toronto Raptors on March 5 before the season was canceled due to the coronavirus. They will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
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