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A year ago Steph Curry unleashed his greatest dunk (that didn't count)
The connection between Curry's showmanship and the joy of Dub Nation peaked during a slam that won't be remembered in the box score.
On April 7th, 2019 Oracle Arena hosted its last regular season game. This was an emotional evening in the Bay Area, as the Dubs paid tribute to their fans by donning “We Believe” throwback unis and unveiling the “47” banner representing the storied franchise’s time in Oakland.
It was also the night Stephen Curry demonstrated apex synergy with the Dub Nation fan base he had bonded with for a decade in Oracle, epitomized by a play that didn’t count.
I was in the building that night… and that empty dunk delivered a state of euphoria that to this day stands as uniquely remarkable. For context:
The Warriors were wrapping up one of their usual third quarters of destruction with a 42-18 run in a contest wherein they would secure the #1 seed in the Western Conference.
Curry was only 2-of-8 in the period with most of his misses coming on disrespectful deep triples that didn’t connect. He was pushing the pace at warp speed, feverishly searching for the haymaker that would break the Clippers wills and incite the fans. Dub Nation yearned for him to find that soul crushing highlight to stamp the beatdown.
It was so loud in the arena during the Damion Lee/Curry fastbreak that it was impossible to hear the referee’s foul whistle. We had our eyeballs glued on the streaking Curry as he darted toward the paint and emphatically activated his two-foot gather before launching towards the rim like a Power Ranger. The anticipation alone was worth the price of admission.
ALSO let’s not forget only a few months prior, Curry damn near killed himself going for a dunk against the Lakers:
When Curry successfully slammed it down against the Clips, pandemonium struck the building. It was like Curry had lifted Thor’s hammer and cracked the entire Clippers franchise across the dome. People were dancing in the aisles and high-fiving everybody in sight. It was only when Curry sheepishly walked away from the basket as Draymond Green berated the referee that we began to realize the bucket didn’t count.
Points or no points, Dub Nation celebrated with a fervor similar to the fanatical reception Baron Davis received when he elevated through Andrei Kirilenko over a decade before on the same floor. Maybe Curry’s dunk was a homage to Davis, considering he was wearing the same ghastly threads as B-Diddy and playing on that same Oakland hardwood?
The wildest part of crowd reaction was the “MVP” chants they showered onto Curry while Lee was at the charity stripe. I cannot think of another time in NBA history where the crowd chanted MVP for a player while his teammate was shooting free throws!
To date, he only has 26 regular season dunks. 6-foot-3 point guards aren’t usually known for bringing the house down with big jams (especially when they don’t count for two points).
Don’t ask Curry to talk about a dunk that doesn’t appear in the box score (check the 2:58 mark of the clip to see his amused disdain).
But on that special evening in Oracle, Curry gave the Warriors faithful an entertaining moment to cherish when he reached the air up there.