Long Live the Chef
Believe me, I’ve avoided writing this essay. For a number of reasons.
For one, who hasn’t written about Stephen Curry at this point? I thought about writing something on the guy last October, and then he came out and went Super Saiyan for the next six months (and counting). I certainly wouldn’t have been the most original essayist then, but now? Ha.
Second, I fell in love with Stephen Curry the basketball player around the same time I started following a group of upstart kids whose franchise had just moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. I’ve already written about how my love for the Pistons started to wane once the franchise traded Chauncey Billups to Denver, and even though I kept watching Pistons’ games, it was moreso out of loyalty and habit than anything else. The Allen Iverson thing was never going to work, and I knew that in my soul the moment he got to Detroit. I’d watched Kevin Durant in college, I ardently argued that Portland should take him instead of Greg Oden, and I enjoyed seeing his highlights on SportsCenter whenever ESPN included those terrible Sonics games on their broadcast. Kevin’s Sonics team sucked, but he continued getting the same buckets he got at Texas. The next year, the soon-to-be Thunder drafted Russell Westbrook, a raw combo guard out of UCLA, and team finished 23–59 after starting the season 3–29. Yeah, that’s not a misprint: they lost twenty-nine of their first thirty-two games. It was brutal. But, for some reason, I caught a lot of the team’s last 50 games, and I saw something. The next year, they drafted James Harden out of Arizona State, Russell roughly figured out how to play with Kevin, the team went 50–32, made the playoffs, and sorta-kinda made Kobe and the Lakers work in their first-round matchup. I’ve been hooked ever since.
After making the NBA Finals in 2012, Oklahoma City’s basketball team has stagnated, for lack of a better word. Injuries to Durant and Westbrook and the idiocy we know as the James Harden trade have prevented what I in all my biases declared a dynasty-in-the-making. Oklahoma City is absolutely still a contender — they just beat the San Antonio Spurs, and San Antonio won 67 out of a possible 82 games this season — but it just seems like they’ve squandered all the hopes and dreams I had for them. These playoffs have already shown us that the Thunder are one sprained MCL or one broken finger from getting the ring that’s eluded them for a half-decade now. Unfortunately, I really don’t see it for them anymore.
I never wanted to admit it, but the other night, after The Stephen Curry Show, recorded live from Portland, Oregon, I finally did.
Forty points. Nine rebounds. Eight assists. Off the bench. After he hadn’t played in essentially 3 weeks, because he slipped on some sweat and sprained his knee.
“I don’t think I can be a Thunder fan anymore,” I said to my roommate after the game as he walked to the kitchen.
“Tonight was the breaking point, huh?”
Yeah, it was. I want Stephen Curry to win everything, all the time, forever. This was, as Kanye said on one of those “School Spirit” skits, meant to be.
Originally published at www.whatsuitshim.com. Follow the link for the rest of the essay.