It was a bit of surprise to see Andrew Iguodala in the Warriors starting lineup for Game 2 of the NBA Finals after he appeared to re-aggravate his calf injury late in Game 1, the same injury that caused him to miss time the previous series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Then, after being leveled by a Marc Gasol screen in the second quarter, Iguodala collapsed clutching his head, and had to briefly leave the game before returning in the second half and hitting a dagger three to seal the Warriors come-from-behind win.
Iguodala has been at this a long time. He’s 35 years old playing in his 14th season in the NBA, and has been the backbone of the Warriors current run of three championships. He was named Finals MVP in 2015, where his insertion into the starting lineup unlocked what would become known as the Warriors “Death Lineup,” and has experienced a total rebirth as a basketball player in his time in the Bay. But he’s clearly playing through a multitude of pain, and with all he’s already accomplished, a reported asked Iggy after Game 2 what his motivation is to keep going.
“I like Steph (Curry),” Iguodala said. “He’s a good dude. A good guy to be around. That’s really the only reason why I like playing basketball. He’s such a good person to ever get backlash from his peers because they’re so jealous of what he has. It’s kind of sticking it to them. So whatever it takes to protect his legacy, I’m all for it.”
Regardless of how you feel about Curry, for a teammate with Iguodala’s reputation to essentially state that the only reason he’s still playing basketball is to protect Curry’s on-court legacy is a pretty endearing thing. The Warriors whirling offense couldn’t function without guys who are willing to sacrifice their own numbers for the success of the group, and Iguodala’s comments illustrate that mentality.
As for the jealously comments? Well, we’ll just leave that for another day.