Road to Redemption

The Golden State Warriors were unstoppable.  They completely dominated the mid-late 2010s.  Obliterating everyone in their way, the Warriors went to five straight NBA finals, won three, and lost the other two due to injuries.  

However, during their journey to win their third championship in a row in 2019, the Warriors faced a multitude of injuries.  With Kevin Durant and Andre Igoudala out, plus Klay Thompson missing game three in the NBA finals, the Warriors found themselves down in a 3-1 deficit.  The Warriors got the win in game five to make the series 3-2.  During the third quarter of game six with the game going back and forth,  Klay was ahead in a fast break, and Danny Green jumped up behind him trying to block him. Klay fell because of Danny Green’s block attempt and tore his ACL.  He missed the rest of the game and the entirety of next season.  The Warriors lost in game six by five points and the Toronto Raptors won the championship.

Kevin Durant left the Warriors in the offseason and Klay was injured for the entire next season. With two of their three best players out of the roster, Stephen Curry had to carry the team.  Unfortunately, he broke his left arm five games into the season vs the Phoenix Suns in the first quarter.  The Warriors went on to finish the season 15-50, last in the Western Conference. 

The next year, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were set to return.  The Warriors were contenders again until … Klay Thompson tore his Achilles during a basketball practice before the season started.  The Warriors were left stunned once again.  Curry had to try to carry the team again.  The Warriors ended the season 39-31, as the eighth seed.  But the Warriors lost two straight play-in games and were eliminated from the 2021 postseason.

After suffering a torn ACL and a torn Achilles, Klay Thompson has finally returned to the game of basketball.  But Steph Curry and the Warriors were doubted, everyone thought the stars were aging, Klay won’t be the same after two major injuries, and the bench was inexperienced.  The Warriors finished as the third seed in the West. Then in the playoffs, the Warriors went on to beat the Nuggets 4-1 in the first round.  Beat the Grizzlies in six games in the second round. Demolishing the Mavericks in five games with Klay hitting eight threes in the final game to send the Warriors to the NBA finals.  The Warriors shockingly lost the opening game one to the Celtics but bounced back in game two to tie the series at 1-1.  Game three was a back-and-forth game through three quarters.  But in the fourth quarter, the Celtics completely outplayed the Warriors and won the game by sixteen.  Down 2-1, the world was sure the Warriors were done, on the road and down 2-1 in the series.  But Steph Curry shocked the world, playing the greatest game of his playoff career.  Scoring 43 points along with 10 rebounds and the Warriors tied the series at 2-2. In game five, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson combined for 47 points and carried the Warriors to win by 10 despite Curry’s terrible shooting. Curry sealed the deal in game six, scoring 34 points with six threes, he lifted the Warriors over the Celtics in game six to win the finals four games to two.  Curry won the first Finals MVP of his career.  Stephen Curry and the Warriors simply owned the 2022 playoffs and did something very few thought they could do.  

Last Chance U: Basketball (Netflix TV Show)

One thing that most of us have in common is that we absolutely love watching Netflix. Whether it’s the newest sitcom TV Show or that adventure movie that you’ve already watched 5 times but can’t get enough of, Netflix has an almost unlimited array of options. Even though its known for its TV Shows and movies, the popular streaming service does not disappoint when it comes to documentaries and docuseries. 

An interesting docuseries that I recently discovered and quickly finished is Last Chance U: Basketball. While you may have heard about Last Chance U: Football, which has 5 different parts, Last Chance U: Basketball is a new docu-series that came out in 2021. It takes the viewers through the journey of the East LA Junior College basketball team’s path to the playoffs. Winning the championship would do wonders for the players who have gone through so much and ended up here. These players who are worthy of playing Divison 1 Basketball if not for the experiences they have had. These players who have lost so much and are trying to earn it back. 

Firstly, East LA’s basketball coach is a religious man, who wants the best for the players and understands them the best. John Mosley is his name, and he is like a father figure for these kids, who almost have nothing else. The players love him, but are also annoyed by his strategies. However, he always makes them earn it by teaching them about hard work and taking no days off. 

Deshaun Highler, the starting shooting guard of the team, lost his mom to cancer before the documentary. In this docuseries, he talks about how he has tried coping with the pain his mom’s death has brought him. Deshaun experiences ups and downs throughout East LA’s 2019-2020 season, but he and Coach Mosley find ways for him to fight past the struggles. 

Joe Hampton, the reserve center of East LA throughout the 2019-2020 season, could’ve been in a much better place at the time of the docuseries, except for his trouble controlling his feelings, typically of anger. As said by many during this show, Joe is incredibly talented, but his injuries when playing for Penn State, a D1 school, forced him to have to transfer to a junior college. After experiencing such lows in life, he often feels fed up and needs to calm himself down, in his own ways. 

Last Chance U: Basketball is one of my favorite docuseries I have watched on Netflix, and I definitely recommend it to anyone. You don’t need to be obsessed with basketball to enjoy this show because this isn’t only a show about basketball, but also about life.

High School Sports

As a senior going into high school, I have taken many opportunities to reflect upon prior high school years, from freshman year, to sophomore year, to the most recent junior year. Even though I have admittedly faced plenty with school, such as homework, tests, and balance with my personal life, I will admit that sports has had a massive impact on my high school experience. Going into freshman year, I had my own club sport and highly debated on whether or not I should do a sport or deal with another round of PE during high school. As a last minute decision due to a recommendation from a friend, I decided to try out for the cross country team and made it on thanks to a decision from one of my coaches.

Although the first semester of my freshman year did not end well due to an early injury that year affecting my first cross country season and feelings of disconnection from a friend group, I grew dedicated to the sport after my recovery and the following Track season that year, despite being cut short due to the coronavirus, had some kind of payoff for me after my injury. However, the lockdown ended up with a disconnection between me and the rest of my team. Although sophomore year did face some setbacks due to the ongoing pandemic, I did end up racing during Track season that year, notably going sub 5 minutes in the 1600m and sub 11 minutes in the 3200m, as well as making more friends on the team. After that year, I had goals to Varsity letter next year in both XC and Track.

During my junior year, I was under plenty of pressure on myself, as well as mental stress balancing heavy schoolwork, personal life, and sports. My XC season was definitely my most successful season yet, as I went 16:16 in the 3 mile race during Sea View League Finals and had the best race of my life that race alongside two of my best friends and teammates, creating a great memory. Following League Finals, my team qualified for CIF, and I had my second favorite race at CIF Finals at the hilly Mt. Sac course with a time of 17:12. Although my Track season did not top my XC season, I did have some good races, such as going under 4:50 in the 1600m and improving by 30 seconds in the 3200m with a time of 10:20.

Even though I had plenty of success throughout my sports career, the truth is that I could not have done a single part of it without my teammates. I ran with them everyday, talked with them, and shared plenty of moments and memories with them to the point where I can honestly say that they are a significant part of my life. Even though we have had struggles and arguments like a team normally does, we have come together and found success last year and look to continue our success to even greater lengths this upcoming year. High school sports has made a huge impact on my life and I’d highly recommend anyone to take high school sports and gain that experience.

How Stephen Curry Defies Expectations

Wardell Stephen Curry was born on March 14th, 1988. He had a brother and a sister. His father was a great shooter in the NBA and played for the Charlotte Hornets. 

Early in life, Curry loved basketball and always practiced shooting and scrimmaging with his brother in their backyard. As he finished middle and high school, people began doubting Curry for his size, despite his incredible shooting. Curry was criticized because of his size and some argued that he wouldn’t survive in college/nba. But he proved them all wrong and was drafted 7th in the 2009 draft.

 In the first few seasons, Curry dealt with many ankle injuries and had to have surgery to repair it. People began to doubt him once again. In 2015, Curry would win the MVP and prove everyone wrong, going on to win the championship that season by defeating Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games.

Over the next 7 years, he would lead his team to a 73-9 record, win 3 more championships, a unanimous MVP, and a finals MVP. He has proved himself to be the greatest shooter of all time and certainly a top 10 player in NBA history.

Interesting Sports Podcasts to Try

If you get bored while running, resting, or doing whatever it is that you like to do, you might want to try a podcast. I enjoy listening to sports podcasts to discover the opinions of experts on certain topics, and I’m here to share some of my favorite ones with you. 

There are 3 podcasts that I feel separate themselves from the rest of them and for different reasons. Some of them offer incredible insight on basketball, while others are fun because they have people debating passionately about players and headlines. 

The Draymond Green Show

The host of this show is the man himself, Draymond Green. He breaks down NBA games and talks about how his team, the Golden State Warriors, played and how the other games went down. His podcasts are especially fun to listen to after he has a big game or an important moment in a game, such as an ejection. Sometimes, he’ll have a guest on the show, who might be a fellow NBA player or someone associated with the NBA. His attention to detail really shows in his podcasts, and I recommend his podcast to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about basketball. This is definitely my favorite podcast at the moment. 

First Take:

What’s better in a sports podcast than Stephen A. Smith yelling at Kendrick Perkins or someone else on the show for their “blasphemous” takes? With various guests on the show as well as the usual crew (Molly Qerim, Stephen A. Smith, and sometimes Kendrick Perkins), the podcast can be really entertaining to listen to or also watch on ESPN. On this show, they primarily debate about basketball, but also have some sections that include football or baseball. Although it’s not my favorite podcast, it’s definitely in the top 2 and I love occasionally listening to small segments at a time. 

Skip and Shannon: Undisputed:

If you want a lot of deep analysis about the game of basketball, don’t go to this show. If you want to see Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe bickering back and forth for two and a half hours, then this is for you. On Undisputed, the 2 hosts don’t really talk about what teams need to do or what they should have done, but they debate on controversial topics concerning ejections, who’s better than who, and certain plays. However, before listening to this podcast, be aware that a lot of the things Skip and Shannon say are heavily biased, especially the ones from Skip. That being said, this show is still a lot of fun and I definitely recommend you check it out. 

If you’re a basketball (or sports) enthusiast, in summer, you might find yourself bored with nothing to do, and if so, give these podcasts/shows a listen. You probably won’t regret it!

-Mert A.