Passing of the torch: From Ray Allen to Steph Curry, the new 3 point king has been crowned

Its official, Steph Curry is the GOAT shooter.

This is something we have know to be true for years, but the GOAT himself was always hesitant to stake his claim because there were legends ahead of him in the record books. But after his historic night under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, Curry can now gracefully accept his truth.

When Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller for the most 3 pointers made, Reggie Miller was in attendance to pass the torch. Last night both Allen and Miller were in attendance to pass the torch to Curry as the GOAT shooter.

“It was a special moment, for sure, that I appreciate and I’ll remember for the rest of my life, in terms of what it means to me to pass Ray,” Curry added. “Him and Reggie [Miller], guys I’ve looked up to coming into the game. Definitely special.”

The first of Steph Curry’s historic Tuesday night 3s, the one that tied Ray Allen for the all-time NBA record, was of the traditional 2021 point guard gunner variety. He received a high screen from Draymond Green, used a cross over to create space then drilled the 29 foot shot. A shot neither Allen or Reggie would fathom to take in the rhythm of the game.

“It’s a different game (than in Ray Allen’s and Reggie Miller’s day),” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But Steph made it a different game.”

Curry’s second 3, the record-breaker, is the one that’ll be remembered most, and it came in a more fitting way. No matter how dangerous Curry is in the more traditional scoring sense — ball in his hands, attacking the defense head-on — he became the most feared and difficult-to-contain shooter of all time because of his elite conditioning, mastery of off-ball movement and lightning-quick catch-and-shoot trigger.

Curry came off an off ball screen, received the pass from Andrew Wiggins, and nailed the high arcing record setting 3.

The degree of difficulty was there, the crowd was anticipating it, and the aftermath was more emotional than we have seen Curry on a NBA floor.

Curry received a big hug from teammate Draymond Green as players streamed onto the floor to congratulate him. Curry took the ball that he was clutching in his arm and handed it to his father, Dell, on the floor as the Madison Square Garden crowd gave him a rousing standing ovation. Curry went back toward center court a few moments later to get a hug and congratulations from Allen.

Then Curry, who had tried to deflect the significance of the moment over the past couple of weeks, couldn’t hold it back anymore. When he sat back down on the bench, tears welled in his eyes.

This type of celebration nearly didn’t materialize. Three games ago, back in San Francisco, when Curry was 16 3-pointers away.

He needed 10 when the trip opened in Philadelphia, a manageable feat. The season before, he had hit 10 3s against the Sixers on the road. But Curry, still sputtering, went 3-of-14 and the struggling Warriors’ offense lost, with some internal belief that the record chase was making the team play worse.

The franchise had initially planned to rest him in Indianapolis, ensuring he would break the record in Madison Square Garden. But he’d hit only three 3-pointers against the Sixers, so he was seven away, plus there was a growing sense within the Warriors that they’d been prioritizing individual achievement over team success. So they instead greenlit Curry to play against the Pacers and went for the win.

Curry hit six 3s against Indianapolis and nearly made a seventh in the closing seconds to tie the record. Had it gone to overtime or, had he been hotter, Curry very easily could have claimed the record against the Pacers. They had accepted that outcome, but the alternate reality rewarded the prolonged wait.

Dell Curry, Allen and Miller weren’t in Indianapolis. TNT wasn’t televising that game. Gainbridge Fieldhouse isn’t Madison Square Garden. So much of Tuesday’s celebration couldn’t have happened the night before.

“No better scenario than having Ray in the building and Reggie on the call,” Curry said. “My family here. It was awesome. … I think everyone talks about the greatest shooter ever, that conversation. My respect for Reggie and Ray, guys who set the bar for what it meant to be a sharpshooter, have the longevity, I’ve tried to own that in my journey — range, volume, efficiency. I pride myself on shooting a high percentage, I pride myself on that helping us win games. Now I can pride myself on the longevity of getting to that number Ray set, hopefully pushing it to a number nobody can reach. I never wanted to call myself the greatest shooter until I got that record. I’m comfortable saying that now.”

Curry continued.

“The buildup to getting this number, it was a special atmosphere. I knew the Garden would deliver just in terms of how iconic this place is — I can’t say it enough, I appreciate so much the way the fans embraced the moment with me and let me kind of get lost in it. I could feel it. Once I took the shot on the wing, it just felt good, looked good — it felt like we were at home.”

One thing is for certain, Curry is the greatest shooter of all time and he no longer has to be humble about it. MVP’s and Finals aside, all Curry has left to do is further extend his own record to ensure he is the record holder for as long as possible.

Maybe forever.

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