Two days later, it still doesn’t seem real.
“Man, unbelievable,” Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Still on cloud nine. It’s an amazing feeling.”
One can imagine.
The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA title in 40 years Tuesday, beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland, 105-97. Toward the end of the game, Stephen Curry began yelling at his teammates, pumping them up for what they were about to accomplish.
“Shock,” Livingston said of his feelings in that moment. “Shock. Man, it’s surreal. Like, what? Nobody’s next? What’s going on? It’s just, we did it. It’s an amazing feeling, just watching all those years people raise the trophy and you’re just watching it on TV – or as a kid, growing up, Michael Jordan, you know what I mean? First time he got the trophy – crying, holding it like a baby. It’s unbelievable. Just the feeling of accomplishing a world championship and going through the struggles with your brothers, it’s amazing.”
Not just any brothers, either. Underdog brothers. Yes, seemingly every key figure on this year’s Warriors team has experienced adversity at the NBA level. Curry was too small. Klay Thompson was too soft. Steve Kerr didn’t have enough experience.
Or so people said.
“Everybody has kind of their own individual journey,” said Livingston, who in 2007 suffered one of the most gruesome leg injuries in NBA history. “It’s an amazing feeling. I think we had a group of guys that just played with that chip on their shoulder. Steph, with him always being an underdog before he came in the NBA. Draymond’s the same way. We got guys who want to win and compete at the highest level. We all played with that chip on our shoulder like we had something to prove.”
Including Andre Iguodala, who started every game in the first 10 years of his career – 758 out of 758 – before coming off the bench this season. Iguodala averaged career-lows across the board this year – 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals – but really came on strong in the Finals. He scored in double figures in five of the six games, and while he didn’t stop LeBron James, he at least made him work for what he got.
Still, should Iguodala have been named Finals MVP over Curry?
“Honestly, there are so many guys who could’ve got that award,” Livingston said. “Those two, Draymond – it’s a game, man. We were all happy for Andre. I thought just with his body of work that he completed in the Finals, (he was deserving). Steph was the regular season MVP. Throughout the postseason, (he had) unbelievable performances, carrying us, putting us on his back, making crazy plays. and Andre, what he did in the Finals, coming in and changing that series – we don’t win that series without Andre Iguodala and what he brought to the table: guarding LeBron, making it hard for him, knocking down shots, being a scoring threat. He showed you what his value to a team can be in the Finals.”