The Golden State Warriors are focused firmly on the present. Staying in the moment, after all, isn't exactly difficult when a team is just one more victory away from hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Unlike the young Boston Celtics, though, Golden State has been to the NBA Finals many times before.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are playing in their sixth championship series with the Warriors, vying to win their fourth title. Their run of three championships in four seasons from 2015 to 2018 made that historic level of success seem like an ongoing formality, especially after Golden State added Kevin Durant following its epic collapse in the 2016 NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors' time at the mountaintop proved more fleeting than anyone anticipated, though. An injured Durant bailed on Golden State after the 2019 Finals, and it took Thompson two-and-a-half years—plus a ruptured Achilles tendon—to get back on the floor after tearing his ACL in Game 6 against the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors.
Some were quick to signal the end of Golden State's dynasty when Durant left and Thompson's diagnosis was confirmed. The next two seasons didn't exactly do anything to dispel that assumption, with the Warriors missing the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since the start of the 2010s. Invigorated by a revamped supporting cast and Thompson's long-awaited midseason return, though, Golden State re-cemented itself as a championship contender in 2021-22, more than living up to that hype when the games really started to matter in the postseason.
It's safe to say that a notorious competitor like Green would relish the opportunity to play in any NBA Finals. Getting back to the basketball mountaintop alongside Curry and Thompson, though, a full decade after they first teamed up with the Warriors in 2012? That only makes the opportunity Golden State has in Game 6 all the more special.
“I couldn't imagine sharing this journey with anyone else,” Green said of Curry and Thompson on Thursday. “You know, we built this thing from the ground up, and when you build something from the ground up, that's your baby, and I think for us, we all appreciate each other and we understand what each of us bring to the table. It stretches far past what we have accomplished on the basketball court. You're talking bonds, those bonds will last forever. We are linked and connected together forever.
“So to know we've been on this journey for ten years, it's such a special thing. The ten-year anniversary if you will, to be in this position is great, and saying that, still one win away. So as special as it is, there's a way to cap this off, it's coming in with the right focus and intensity level tomorrow and being ready to try to close this thing out.”
The reputations of Curry, Green and Thompson are ironclad. All will be first-ball Hall-of-Famers once their careers end, each credited with not just historic team and individual accomplishments but changing the course of the game at large. There's never been another Big Three like Golden State's.
And no matter what happens on Thursday night or how these Finals end, it's clear the journey of Curry, Green and Thompson is far from over.