The NBA is and always will be a family.
While your uncle bemoans the league’s supposed lack of rivalries and general on-court friction, we’re growing increasingly heartened by the fond relationships between opposing players and coaches. Not only did today’s generation spend formative together on the spring and summer AAU circuit, but further forge bonds through marketing opportunities and national team obligations.
Most of these guys are friendly, and those who aren’t at least hold an unspoken mutual respect. Steph Curry and Vince Carter, though, possess a relationship that extends even further than most of their peers’.
After the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies from championship contention last night, Carter waited to greet Curry as the MVP finished his on-court television interview. The prospective Hall-of-Famers embraced warmly and chatted at length before a walk to the sidelines to greet Curry’s mother and wife.
The pair have a bond originally forged nearly two decades ago. Carter was a teammate of Curry’s father, Dell, with the Toronto Raptors for three seasons beginning in 1999-2000. Though the Curry family’s strongest roots were in Charlotte, an adolescent Steph, obviously, spent enough time around the Raptors to grow close to Carter as the latter emerged as a full-fledged superstar.
This game has a way of transcending time. Watching two opposing legends – one on the ascent, the other a decline – reminisce so fondly of some 15 years prior is a gleaming example of that heartwarming reality, let alone the same kind that exhibits why the NBA stands out with respect to other professional sports.