COMMENTARY | Stephen Curry has superstar potential, and if the sports world didn't know that, they found out on a historic night in New York City.
The Golden State Warriors knew they had a special player when they selected the former Davidson star with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Though injuries prevented him from breaking out initially, he has used what many believe to be an All-Star game snub in 2013 as fuel to take his game to new heights.
His performance on Wednesday night was legendary, but there have been many others at MSG by visiting players. Let's take a look and see where Curry ranks among the five best by visiting opponents in the last 20 years.
Stephen Curry, "The Arrival" -- Feb. 27, 2013
Curry picked the greatest stage in the NBA's most famous arena to show the world what he can do. What's even more remarkable was the fact that his performance transcended the New York Knicks' narrow win over the Warriors.
His stat line was absurd. Curry totaled 54 points on 18-of-28 from the field, including 11-of-13 from the 3-point line, falling one short of the NBA record shared by Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall and besting Dorell Wright's Warriors' franchise mark by two.
The performance is easily one of the best in the history of MSG -- and that's a bold statement.
Kobe Bryant, "The Assassin" -- Feb. 2, 2009
If there's a list that highlights scoring prowess in any fashion, then the Black Mamba is usually a part of it. This time, Bryant knew he had to step up with star center Andrew Bynum out because of injury. What ensued was a 61-point, record-setting performance that is yet another example of how the biggest stage brings out the best in Bryant.
What made it even sweeter was the fact that he was in the middle of doing a documentary with director and noted Knicks fan Spike Lee titled, "Kobe Doin' Work".
He did his work that day.
LeBron James, "The Rebuttal" - Feb. 4, 2009
The pre-decision, pre-NBA title-winning James was a budding superstar once, but by 2009, he had already solidified himself as the best player in the NBA in the eyes of many. Just two days after Bryant notched his 61-point game, LeBron seemed to respond with his own outstanding game representing the Cleveland Cavaliers as if to say, "It'll be my turn soon," finishing with a near-triple-double of 52 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds at MSG.
The Cavs won that game, but the Lakers won the NBA title that year. Still, James was headed for glory of his own in due time with the Miami Heat.
Reggie Miller, "The Inaugural Spike Lee Game" -- June 1, 1994
Miller's final line of 39 points and six assists wasn't as other-worldly as the others on this list, but the way he did considering the stage and the implications made him an NBA legend forever.
The setting was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and though the Knicks would prevail, Miller made it known that was a force in the league. He scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and left Spike Lee speechless as the Knicks watched him make six three-pointers from everywhere but the parking lot.
The performance was masterful, and it set the tone for many more epic battles in one of the NBA's greatest rivalries between the Indiana Pacers and the Knicks.
Michael Jordan, "The Comeback" -- March 28, 1995
Fresh off the baseball diamond and a 17-month hiatus, Michael Jordan was sporting a new, weird number 45 with the same vintage skill set at age 32. He finished the classic game with 55 points on 21-of-37 shooting from the field, including 35 in the first half and 49 through three frames.
He played four games before this one, but his arrival back to the forefront of the league became official here.
While that on its own merit was a masterful feat, what he did at the end of the game will live on forever in the annals of NBA history. With 4.8 seconds remaining, he rose up like so many times before for what appeared to be the game-winning shot attempt only to fire an overhead pass to a wide-open Bill Wennington.
Jordan always had a flair for the dramatic, and this was a prime example.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He writes regularly for SB Nation and is the Editor of Sports Out West.
Catch up with him on Twitter to exchange some sports banter @MikeJonesTweets
- Sports & Recreation
- Stephen Curry
- Kobe Bryant
- Golden State Warriors
- Spike Lee