Why was Steph Curry crying, losing it on the TD Garden parquet floor, after the final buzzer late Thursday night?
He had dazzled before in June, having already won three NBA titles.
Because this championship was different. and I’ll argue, this was the most important championship of his illustrious career.
I harken back to early February of 2015, the Seattle Seahawks were at the Patriots 1-yard line, a Marshawn Lynch monster mash run away from winning the Super Bowl.
Instead, the Seahawks and Russell Wilson threw the ball, immediately making an undrafted free agent out of the University of West Alabama, Malcolm Butler, who picked it off, a household name.
It was the scene on the Patriots sidelines, though, that exemplified the meaning of that victory.
Then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was jumping up and down, up and down, like a high school girl who got asked to the prom.
Brady didn’t cry, but after the jumps he hugged his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and said, “Oh my God, Josh … We did it!”
What Brady did then and what Curry did on Thursday night was put themselves into another category.
Brady became the all-time greatest that night against the Seahawks and Curry became a top 10 all-time great.
The best part for both was gap between Title No. 3 and Title No. 4.
The Patriots had gone 10 years without winning a Super Bowl, losing two, including The Perfect Season debacle against the Giants in 2007.
Brady, who had taken over the throne of the best quarterback in the NFL, needed another title badly.
The Warriors had gone only three years, but it seemed like 10 years considering the drama and injuries that followed No. 3. Seeing carpet-bagger Kevin Durant leave to start his own title team, added to the pressure.
Despite entering the 2021-22 season healthy, with Klay Thompson all-in, three teams were favored over the Warriors, a 14-1 pick versus Brooklyn (5-2), L.A. Lakers (4-1) and Milwaukee (8-1).
But when it comes to athletes like Brady and Curry, and you can include LeBron James, legacy is very, very important.
They don’t want to be just the best. They want to be with the best of the best, on Mt. Rushmore.
Curry exhibited those necessary qualities over the last two months.
While most teams had two elite players they could count on to deliver most of the time, the Warriors had one – Curry.
And he did.
Curry needed this championship, proving to others that either doubted or weren’t sure of his greatness, that he is in that small group of athletes.
Being the “greatest shooter of all-time,” which is already in his trophy case, wasn’t enough.
Now, with what happened on Thursday night, he is among the top 10-ish to have ever played the game of basketball:
Shaq. Larry. Magic. MJ. LeBron. Russell. Kobe. Wilt. Kareem. Duncan.
Now you can add Steph.
That fourth title he won meant something.
Brady didn’t stop there. He won three more, setting himself apart from No. 2 in a big way.
Whatever happens from here on out, whether Steph makes a crack at the top five, only time and a few more championships will tell.
But I will tell you this. That No. 4 on Thursday night was worth crying for.
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.