The NBA recently announced new Conference Finals MVP Awards with the Western and Eastern Conferences being represented by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, respectively. Of course, the Johnson and Bird rivalry was crucial in the growth of the NBA during the 1980s and Magic led the Los Angeles Lakers to the Western Conference Finals 10 times in 12 seasons between 1980 and 1991.
In 2022, the premier point guard in the NBA is Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. Universally considered the greatest shooter of all time, many also consider him right there with Johnson as the greatest point guards ever and now after already leading the Warriors to three championships, Curry is returning to the NBA Finals after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 4-1 in this season’s Western Conference Finals.
Curry would be named the first-ever Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP after the Warriors victory and Magic himself took to Twitter to congratulate the Warriors star:
It's really cool that the greatest shooter basketball has ever seen, a friend, future hall of famer, and great person, @StephenCurry30 won the first ever Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP award!! Congratulations! 🏆
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 27, 2022
Curry led the Warriors, averaging 23.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.8 rebounds in the series while also knocking down 43.9% from 3-point range. While it was his Splash Brothers partner Klay Thompson who led the way in the closeout Game 5, it was Curry who dominated Games 2 and 3 allowing the Warriors to take control of the series.
Curry had 32 points in the Warriors’ Game 2 comeback victory, then followed it up with 31 and 11 assists in Game 3 to put the Golden State in complete control.
It is pretty ideal that Curry would get the first award named after Magic Johnson as the two are legendary point guards and generational talents. Curry’s postseason performances have sometimes come under scrutiny by the general public and the fact that he has yet to bring home an NBA Finals MVP has been used to question his overall legacy at times.
But now Curry has his first individual postseason award and will undoubtedly be looking to cement his legacy with a fourth NBA Championship and first NBA Finals MVP award.
Lakers hire Ham as head coach
Magic has also been open about his thoughts on the Lakers’ offseason, including what the team should do with their next head coach. Johnson spoke on the trend of ex-players thriving as head coaches and believes the Lakers should follow in that and hire an ex-player.
L.A. then did exactly that, hiring Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham to be Frank Vogel’s replacement.
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