Stephen Curry and the Spirit of History

One one hand, I’ll read any smart piece that dives deep on the transcendent play of the Golden State Warriors’ point guard — and even more so in the wake of Curry finally winning an elusive NBA Finals MVP honor. But on the other hand, I can’t remember any others in which a history scholar managed to map the NBA against Marxist dialectics while still delivering an emotionally honest depiction of sports fandom. Well played.

We gravitate to teams and athletes for different reasons, but I think mainly we want to see what happens next. What innovation or talent will mark a new phase in the league’s record books? In the academy, historians are far past the days of Whiggish triumphalism, the belief that ours is the best of all possible worlds. Within the artificial constraints of a basketball season, however, linear progress feels absolutely possible. Curry’s consecration last week only reinforced my belief in the rationality of history, or at least the NBA’s version of it. Sports project a vision of collective progress far more hopeful than the actuality of late capitalism. We should never consume it naively, but I am not so sure that we can afford to let it go either.

Source: n+1
Published: Jun 20, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,824 words)
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