Steph Curry was already considered the greatest shooter in NBA history.
Now it’s official.
In the place he long ago wanted to call home, Curry eclipsed Ray Allen with the most treys in league history, burying No. 2,974 in the first quarter against the Knicks at MSG.
Curry needed just two 3-pointers to set the mark coming into Tuesday, creating a buzz and heightened atmosphere from a crowd assuming it would witness history. He nailed the first one – a pull-up from the top of the key – after one minute. It set up a spectacle of thousands in the arena pulling out their cell phones each time Curry touched the ball. The second trey occurred 3 ½ minutes later, and the crowd exploded.
The Warriors immediately took a foul and called a timeout for a celebration and tribute, which included a teary-eyed Curry hugging his family and embracing the standing ovation. The fans paid handsomely for that opportunity.
Tickets in the secondary market were the most expensive on record at MSG, according to tickpick.com, which reported an average price of $373 as of Tuesday morning.
The enthusiasm was more about Curry than the record, which had been held by Allen for over a decade after he surpassed Reggie Miller. It’s not exactly a hallowed mark since the 3-pointer was established in 1979 and only recently became a major source of scoring.
But this was reason to further celebrate Curry in the World’s Most Famous Arena, where the reeling Knicks – sapped by COVID-19 infections to three rotation players – were back to hosting an opposing superstar’s exhilarating moment.
Michael Jordan; Kobe Bryant; LeBron James; Steph Curry. They’ve all had their Garden moments.
“It’s the Mecca,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “This is THE spot. If you ask every player in the NBA their favorite arena, I would guess the majority of them would say the Garden. I know it’s my favorite atmosphere in the league. There’s a ton of history here.”
Curry’s popularity spans coasts and age brackets, as evidenced by his fans taking over MSG on Tuesday. Not only did his family show up, Ray Allen flew into New York for the event. The presence of Reggie Miller, who was part of TNT’s broadcast team, meant the top-3 3-point shooters were all in the building.
No. 4, James Harden, is in Brooklyn.
In another universe — undoubtedly more pleasant for Knicks fans — Curry would’ve been setting the record for the home team.
Through his father and agent, Curry tried position himself to the Knicks in the 2009 draft. His father, Dell Curry, confirmed he told the Warriors about his NYC preference during pre-draft phone call.
“I said, ‘No, we’d rather you not take him if he’s there because we have another place we’d like him to be,’” Dell Curry told NBA reporter Marc Stein this week. “He said, ‘Well, if he’s there we’re going to take him,’ and I said: ‘That’s your choice. You call me and ask me a question and I’m telling you the truth from my end.’ "
Twelve years later, it’s hard to complain about the outcome. At least from the Curry family perspective. The Knicks didn’t trade up and chose Jordan Hill with the next pick. Hill retired after an underwhelming career.
“Thank God it didn’t happen,” Dell Curry told Stein.
There’s something refreshing and likeable about the way Curry goes about his business. He’s not a physical anomaly like LeBron James or 7-feet tall like Kevin Durant. He was viewed as a defensive-deficient undersized two-guard out of college, then struggled through injuries early in his career. Unlike his contemporary superstars, Curry stuck with the same team that drafted him, never even hinting he’d relocate from the Bay Area.
“Steph appeals to everyone,” Kerr said. “Not just hardcore fans who look at his 3-point percentage. I think fans are attracted to him because of his humility and his story and how hard he’s had to work. From that standpoint, it transcends sports somewhat. I just think it’s a greatest testament to someone who is gifted but who has earned through hard work beyond the gift he was given.”