Does the phrase ever get tired to read, or to say?
The Golden State Warriors are NBA champions.
Clearly, it doesn’t for the core trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who have now led Golden State to four titles in eight years. They capped off the title run with a 103-90 win in Game 6 over the Celtics, clinching the crown on the parquet floor in Boston on Thursday night.
Curry had his coronation on Thursday night, scoring 34 points on 12-of-21 shooting — and 6-for-11 from 3-point range, one game after he didn’t make a 3-pointer for the first time in his postseason career. He also added seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block, too. He received the Finals MVP trophy, to the surprise of no one.
The Warriors also got vital contributions from Andrew Wiggins (18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks), Jordan Poole (15 points on 12 shots in 18 minutes) and Gary Payton II (six points, three steals, three rebounds and a team-high plus-18) on Thursday night, and those three — and others — were rewarded with their first NBA title.
There’s more to come ahead, and the title chase for a fifth — “One for the thumb” like the 49ers were going for back in 1990, anyone? — will surely start up soon. But for now, it’s party time.
Here’s what the Warriors were saying after clinching the title:
First, I want to say congrats to the Celtics on a great series. They were incredible. Their defensive athleticism, length, toughness, was really tough to overcome, and they had us on the ropes in this series, and a tremendous season. You know, since I’ve been here, we’ve lost in the Finals twice, and it’s devastating, you know, to get this far and to come up short, and I’ve got a lot of friends across that hall, you know, between Ime and Will Hardy, Damon Stoudamire, Aaron Miles, a bunch of really good friends and guys I’ve coached in FIBA, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, great, great, group of guys. So I genuinely feel for them because I know what it’s like to lose at this point, but they had an amazing run and it was a great, great series.
On what separates this championship from others:
Well, they are all unique, they are all special. I think this one may have been the most unlikely just from the standpoint of where we’ve been the last couple years. A lot of unknowns, the injury to Klay, Draymond at the end of the year, Steph at the end of the year. A lot of young guys, a new core, or a new group around our core, I should say. But it’s really special to see guys like Wiggs and Loon and Gary Payton, just how far they have come, the impact they made, Jordan Poole, the same thing. I know I’m going to forget people but it takes a full team effort to do this, and we just had a great group who do get it done.
On Curry’s greatness:
He does, because what he does at his size is so different from the traditional greats in this league. I’ve said it so many times, Steph reminds me so much of Tim Duncan. Totally different players. But from a humanity standpoint, talent standpoint, humility, confidence, this wonderful combination that just makes everybody want to win for him. And I’m obviously thrilled for everyone in that room, and a lot of people had a big hand in this, but I think the thing with Steph is, you know, without him, none of this happens. That’s not taking anything away from Joe and Peter’s ownership, because they have built an incredible organization. Bob Myers, hell of a GM. Our players, we have had so many great players, but Steph ultimately is why this run has happened. Much like Timmy in San Antonio. So I’m happy for everybody, but I’m thrilled for Steph. To me this is his crowning achievement in what’s already been an incredible career.
On if Finals MVP was last thing for Curry to accomplish:
No, he’s missing an Olympic Gold Medal [laughter], and I think he really has to focus on being on the 2024 Olympic Team. That’s the last thing for his career. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Honestly, the whole Finals MVP thing, it’s like, I mean, are we really — I guess his career has been so impeccable, and that’s the only thing we can actually find. So it’s great to check that box for him. But it’s been really hard for me to think that that’s actually been held against him. Anyway, here he comes. Talk to him.
On what it means to be Finals MVP:
Forget that question. Why you start with that question? We’ve got four championships. God is great, the ability to be on this stage and play with amazing teammates against a great Boston Celtics team that gave us everything to try to get to the finish line. This one hits different for sure, just knowing what the last three years have meant, what it’s been like from injuries to changing of the guard in the rosters, Wiggs coming through, our young guys carrying the belief that we could get back to this stage and win, even if it didn’t make sense to anybody when we said it, all that stuff matters. And now we got four championships. Me, Dray, Klay, and Andre, we finally got that bad boy. It’s special. It’s special. Just all the work that went into it, the faith and belief and everybody in that locker room that’s getting to spray champagne around the locker room, everybody mattered in that process. So I’m just proud of everybody.
On what he was thinking in final moments of the game:
These last two months of the playoffs, these last three years, this last 48 hours, every bit of it has been an emotional roller coaster on and off the floor; and you’re carrying all of that on a daily basis to try to realize a dream and a goal like we did tonight. And you get goosebumps just thinking about, you know, all those snapshots and episodes that we went through to get back here, individually, collectively. And that’s why I said I think this championship hits different. That’s why I have so many emotions, and still will, just because of what it took to get back here. And the fact that when we started this season, the conversations about who we were as a team and what we were capable of, clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero of how many championships we would have going forward because of everything that we went through. So we hear all that, and you carry it all and you try to maintain your purpose, not let it distract you, but you carry that weight and to get here, it all comes out. It’s special.
On what happened when he hugged his dad:
I blacked out for a second.
On the emotions of winning and tearing up:
It was definitely overwhelming. It was surreal because you know how much you went through to get back to this stage, and nobody, unless you’ve been on that floor, you just grind day-in and day-out. Talking about just me personally, my workouts from the off-season last year when we lost in the play-in tournament, it’s been a year and six days that I started the process of getting ready for this season. It all paid off. Didn’t know how it was going to happen. Didn’t know what the environment was going to be like. You imagine what the emotions are going to be like, but it hits different. You know, out there on the floor, I didn’t even know he was down there, to be honest with you. I saw him and I lost it, and I knew the clock was kind of running out. I just wanted to take in the moment because it was that special.
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On how this feels compared to how he felt in 2019:
A lot of mixed ones to be honest. 2019, it was easier to accept because I had never been hurt before and that five-year run took a lot out of us. But the second time it happened it was like, what the heck is going on, man. Just to stay with it, just calf raise after calf raise, after underwater treadmill, so many days, not even touching a ball. Then to go through this season with the ups and downs, and even these playoffs, I’m just at a loss for words at times. Because I knew this was possible but to be here in real time, man, I don’t want to leave. I want to enjoy every second of this. I know how fleeting it can be.
On what it was like to be on stage after the win:
Oh, man, I was feeling absolutely incredible. I was feeling just so high on life that I did not want to leave the stage, and I just know how hard this is, and to be here for a fourth time, like so grateful for my teammates. I saw it in the beginning of season. People called me crazy. I said championship or bust, because I saw how we came out of the gate, 18-2. And playing just that Warriors brand of basketball that made us so successful, and then knowing I was going to be inserted in that, I knew we had a chance to do something special, and here we are. It’s so incredible. Wow.
On strength in numbers:
I can’t wait, there is this one player on the Grizzlies who Tweeted “strength in numbers” after they beat us in the regular season and it pissed me off so much. I can’t wait to retweet that thing. Frigging bum. I had to watch that, like this frigging — okay, okay. Sorry. Bad memory just popped up. Going to mock us? Like, you ain’t ever been there before, Bro. We been there. We know what it takes. Hold that. Twitter fingers, can you believe it? I’ve got a memory like an elephant. I don’t forget. There were a lot of people kicking us down.
On the 2015 vibes of this series:
I just knew it. We’ve been here before and it was the same — like déjà vu, same feelings. We feel like we couldn’t get in a good flow back in 2015, the Cavs had our number. We stuck with it. We grinded out a tough Game 4. And now to be here, and I’m so happy for him to get that Finals MVP. Some bozo saying he needed it. I think he’s pretty much established what he can do, but to see him earn that, he’s one of the greatest ever and we all followed in his lead and gosh, that was awesome. What a series.
On how the core has been able to do this:
It’s amazing because none of us are the same, and, you know, you usually clash with people when you’re alike. The one thing that’s constant for us is winning is the most important thing. That is always the goal. That is always the main focus. … For us, it’s just about getting back to these moments and winning, and we know what that feels like, and ultimately we know what that takes. We know what that takes. And rely on each other and depend on each other. If I struggle in one area, Steph just isn’t going to try to do it. We rely on each other for what we are great at. And it still has not been proven when we hold that that anybody can stop it.
On what’s next for Warriors:
I’m not sure. I don’t like to put a number on things and say, oh, man, we can get five or we can get six. We going to get them until the wheels fall off. And that’s our goal, to compete at this level every year.
On what Finals MVP means for Curry:
When you look at a guy like Steph Curry, to have the season and the career that he’s had, it is amazing. And to stamp that with a Finals MVP — I know he said it don’t matter, and it doesn’t matter in the sense of like, oh, his legacy is not quite this unless he gets that. Like, that’s garbage.
Still Steph Curry, still an all-time great. But to add that to your résumé as a competitor, you want that. For him, well-deserved. It’s been a long time in the making. But he left no doubt, left no doubt, and he carried us, and we’re here as champions.
On feelings he has for sharing the championship with his children:
It’s absolutely amazing being up here sharing this with my kids, with my wife, my brother, my mom. This is what you do it for. I’ve always said, one of my motivations to get back to playing at a high level is they weren’t old enough to remember me playing at a high level. You look at the last two years prior to this one, and you know, you think of their ages that they have gone on the last few years, she was four, he was two. They didn’t remember anything. So a huge part of my motivation coming into this year was to show them that, you know, I can be at this level and to give them an understanding, and, you know, to ultimately close it out. I always say, you know, during the playoffs, my family takes a backseat to everything, everyone does, everything does. It’s all about what can I do to put myself in a better position to win a championship, to close out a series, to play good games. And that requires such a high amount of focus, and, you know, I didn’t see them all day today. Like they are sitting in the same hotel. I didn’t see them all day. But ultimately, it’s a sacrifice. You know, try to get them to understand, but the things that they don’t understand, once they see the prize at the end, it will better help them understand. And teaching them how to work, and if you do work hard, there are prizes at the end, and I think for me to share these experiences with them, that’s what the journey is all about.
On adjustments he made during series:
Game 3, it just caught me off guard. Like you’ve heard crowds boo, and I never heard an entire crowd yell “F-you, Draymond.” That was a different thing. And then so you couple that with having a so-so game, and it’s like, ah, man. Then I thought, you know, when I speak of the new media, then going into Game 4, it was made out like, oh, he’s having this terrible series. But if you know basketball, and you watch Game 1, I did not have a bad Game 1, and I had an incredible Game 2. And Game 3 was kind of like, terrible, awful. And Game 4 was not my best effort but not totally special. And Game 5, Game 5, I was pretty solid. Came out with great energy. Game 6, I dominated. But you read these narratives, Steven A. said, “He’s having the most horrific Finals of an NBA starter in history.” I’m like, “Dude, you ain’t going to exaggerate that much. That’s ridiculous.” But you’ll hear more about that on the podcast tonight. For me, it was just about staying the course. And I knew that I hadn’t had a great game yet. I had good games, I was clamping and doing things, but I had not quite put it all together yet. For me, I said what better time than to put it together tonight. I don’t think I heard “[expletive] you, Draymond” all night. They couldn’t. So, you know, it’s easy to chant “[expletive] you” when somebody is having a bad game, but can’t you do that when they’re having a great game? I didn’t hear much of it tonight. Maybe I was just that locked in. But second team to win, close it out in TD Garden, right? Why not us. Who better than us?
On what it feels like to be a champion:
Man, it feels good. It feels amazing. You put in so much work, so much time, to make it here, and you know, the end result is becoming a champion. So, there’s nothing like it. So now I’m going to celebrate like crazy.
On the credit he gives to Warrior veterans:
They called me, Draymond, Klay, Steph, Andre, all the vets. They challenged me every day. Every time I stepped on the court, they challenged me, and that’s motivational. You know, those are future Hall of Famers. Whenever they tell me to do something, the challenge is, I just want to get it done, and proved to them and earned their respect. So it’s been good.
On feeling of proving people who doubted him wrong:
Man, it’s a feeling I can’t describe. Every day, that stuff is motivating. It put fire in my eyes and I just wanted to prove everyone wrong. Now I’m a world champion. Everyone is going to have something to say regardless, but now when they have something to say, they have to say I’m a world champion, too.
On what being a champion means:
This is the reason we play basketball, you know, to change our family’s lives and win at the highest level, and it’s truly remarkable to be with such a special group of guys and win a championship.
On what the 21-0 run late in the first/early in the second did for team:
You said 21-0? Just being able to go on a 21-0 run in general is tough but doing it on the road in a close-out game is extremely special. That just shows you how locked in our guys were. We came here with a mission. Guys were focused and guys were locked in and we know how important to win tonight was. Everybody stepped up in the moment. Everybody stepped up to the challenge, and it paid off.
On what makes this team special:
Everybody on this team is selfless, from the top all the way down the food chain. The humility that guys have, we want to see everybody be successful. We want to win games. And being able just to have that with as talented of a team that we have is rare. We go out there and we fight and we play for each other night-in and night-out all season. It just shows how connected and how together we are. It makes it easy to go out there and play with guys that you really enjoy talking to, not only as basketball players but as people, and I’m glad that we were able to get it done with this really, really, really special group.
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On if injuries make this win sweeter:
Yeah, great year. You know, started off the year hot and he had some injuries and got back to the lineup, losing guys every other week, and for us to get it together for the playoffs, we peaked at the right time. It’s just an amazing feeling that I don’t think nobody had a belief in us, but us, you know, coming into training camp, we knew what we had. We knew we had a special group. Even when things were rocky we never lost that faith. We always had faith that we could do it. When we got to the playoffs and we got down to this series, we didn’t care, we knew we had the best team in the league, got the best player in the league. And when you have that going for you, you just have the ultimate confidence. And we’ve been doing this for a while, and it showed.
He’s changed the game. I think everybody knows that. We call him the greatest shooter for a reason. He’s single-handedly changed the center and the power forward position just the way he plays the pick-and-roll and the way he plays in space. And since I’ve been here, he’s done something amazing every year. I got to see him win a unanimous MVP, got to see him break the three-point record. I got to see him win three championships and win back-to-back MVPs. He’s had a long list, he has a great résumé and he’s considered one of the best ever for a reason. He’s impacted the game. And when I go back home to Milwaukee and watch my AU team play and practice, everybody want to be Steph, everyone want to shoot threes, and I’m like, man, you got to work a little harder to shoot like him. I see him every day. It’s an honor to be able to play with him and call him my teammate. I learn so much from him and got to experience so much just being on this team, so I want to thank Steph for that.
On what makes this championship special compared to the others:
This one was a lot of weight just because of all the shots, you know, each championship they threw at us, or particularly they threw at Steph, Finals MVP in the first one and KD, best player in the world, you know, trying to say that was unfair, and then you go a year where you win, what, they win 15 games, and last year, not being able to get to the playoffs, and for everything to come back together the way it did with me leaving and then coming back and different role, different capacity, and then having amazing teammates and a different set of like supporting cast. This guy right here was huge for us. Earned himself a big payday this summer. Really happy for him, Wiggins, Jordan Poole, the growth of those guys. But Steph, I think he solidified himself today — not even today, just his career, as best point guard of all time.
On what has changed and what has stayed the same from 2015 to now:
If anything, the foundation has stayed the same, and it’s a strong foundation, and you know, you hear about that, the foundation you build on determines the strength of the structure of the building. Like I said, with Steph, Klay, Draymond, what they have done in this league and the foundation they have been able to build, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. In a hundred years, you’re going to be talking about some of the best players and teams and foundations, and those three guys, they kind of did a template of how do you build championship pedigree.
GARY PAYTON II
On bringing another championship to the family:
You know, it’s huge. It’s crazy, you know, never would have thought something like this would happen, and I think I got mine sooner than his. One for one, something to talk about and I can get my stuff off against him now, so it’s good.
On his journey:
It’s just crazy. You know, just a journey. It’s been a big learning experience for me. I appreciate every moment I had, all the falls, just to help me build on, you know, just sticking with it and just keep going. So I’m still speechless right now. It’s just crazy right now.
OTTO PORTER JR.
On what the moment is like:
For me it’s an amazing moment. I dreamt about this as a kid and to be here on this team, this dynasty team, it means the world. I can’t describe it, what I’m feeling. It’s amazing.
On if the low expectations and injuries make this sweeter:
Hell, yeah. It makes it way more sweeter. We knew what we had coming into training camp from day one. We knew our goals, what we wanted to do. We didn’t really care about the outside influence. We just stuck together, you know, the whole year. We kept working and kept the main goal at hand. And we have a saying, just us, because it’s really just us out there, and, you know, it’s us against the world.