The Finals MVP award is one of the most prestigious honors to earn as an NBA player. Many argue that to crack the elite list of the top 10 greatest basketball players of all time, you’ve got to have at least one FMVP in your resume. Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and most recently, Giannis Antetokoumpo all have one thing in common – a Finals MVP. But this great list seems to be missing one of the greatest players of all time: Stephen Wardell Curry.
Without a doubt, Steph Curry is one of the greatest and most decorated NBA players of all time and has broken numerous NBA records throughout his Hall of Fame-worthy career. He is the greatest shooter in NBA history, a 3× NBA Champion, 2× MVP, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 8× All-Star, 2× Scoring Champion, 4× All NBA first-team, and most recently won the inaugural Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP. However, one prestigious award has eluded his trophy cabinet – a Finals MVP.
While many debate that he should have won it in 2015, Andre Iguodala’s defensive performance against Lebron James was too hard for the voters to ignore. But that’s all in the past now! Steph has been presented with yet another opportunity to perform a stellar performance and finally lay hold of the one trophy he doesn’t have.
As it stands, Steph is the favorite to win this year’s Finals MVP. He has, without a doubt, been the most important player for the Warriors against a Celtics team who overcame the Brooklyn Nets offensive powerhouse, reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo, and the top-seed Miami Heat en route to the finals.
The Warriors are yet to play a 7-game series this postseason and look at the favorites to win the series. With a supporting cast that boasts a former DPOY in Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, who has been instrumental to the team’s championship run over the years, and a young an offensive core in Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Gary Payton II, and Keyvon Looney, Curry has all it takes to lead his team to their fourth ring in eight years and win the much-coveted Finals MVP trophy.
As we await the outcome of the Warriors-Celtics series, let’s recap Giannis Antetokoumpo’s historic finals MVP performance during the 2021 NBA Finals.
Giannis Antetokoumpo Led the Milwaukee Bucks to Their First Championship in 50 Years
Bucks in 6! Bucks in 6! After an array of postseason disappointments, Milwaukee finally got their hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2021.
The Bucks finished their regular season clinching the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, and their postseason run started on a high: they swept the Miami Heat, defeated the Nets after a hard-fought 7-game series, and saw off the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Their matchup was against the 2-seed Phoenix Suns led by Chris Paul and rising star guard Devin Booker. The Suns took the first two games at home, but the Bucks upturned the deficit to win the series 4-2. Milwaukee became only the fifth team to win a championship after trailing 2-0.
Antetokoumpo led the charge for the Bucks, averaging 35.2 PPG, 13.2 RBG, and 5.0 APG in that series. With this stat, he became the first player in NBA finals history to average at least 30 PPG, 10 RPG, and 5 APG on 60% TS. What’s more impressive? He registered these stats after recovering from a left knee hyperextension which he suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
His contribution to the defense was also phenomenal, most notably his chase-down block on Jay Crowder in Game 1 and the iconic block on DeAndre Ayton in Game 4. The Greek Freak recorded 42 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2 and 41 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3, becoming the first player after Shaq to record at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in consecutive NBA finals. In the third quarter of Game 3, he registered 20 points, becoming only the fourth player in NBA finals history to record 20 points in a quarter.
As if he hadn’t done enough, Antetokoumpo closed out the series with a 50-point game becoming only the second player to record 50-points in a series-clinching Finals game, a record previously set by Bob Petit in 1958. He made 17 of his 19 free throws, a side of his game he had struggled with throughout the playoffs. He recorded a game score of 31.9 for the series, the highest in NBA history.
At 26 years old, Antetokoumpo became the youngest player to win the Finals MVP since Kawhi Leonard in 2014. He also became the first player to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals Most Valuable Player of the Year. As of this writing, Michael Jordan and Giannis Antetokoumpo remain the only players ever with multiple MVPs, a DPOY, and a Finals MVP.