23… And Counting
In the NBA, there’s no number more magical than #23. It’s the double digit, iconic number you see on the heels of sneakers from cul-de-sac driveway courts to sold out arenas. The number on the back of this generation’s ‘Jordan,’ Lebron James. And the number set in stone outside Chicago’s United Center, sculpted into the chest of last generation’s ‘Jordan.’
23 has a new meaning in the NBA, thanks to Golden State’s latest 131-123 victory over the Indiana Pacers Tuesday. It now represents the record for the amount of consecutive wins (23-0) by a team to start an NBA season. Ever.
An NBA season is only 82 games long. That means 28% of Golden State’s season is already behind them. To put in perspective, while the Warriors wait for their first defeat, their former counterparts in the 15’ Western Conference Finals, picked up their first loss back on October 28th. Which means the Warriors have taken 45 days longer to pick up a loss on their record (and counting) than their closest challengers to come out of the West.
The Warriors have defeated 17 different NBA teams to open the season. With only 30 teams in the league, one of which IS THEM, they have already bested 59% of the best teams available, in the league featuring the highest level of play for their sport. Competition wise, the NBA just isn’t enough. A few more wins and Adam Silver may be forced to promote the Warriors OUT of his league. Perhaps call Warner Bros and schedule some Space Jams.
Along those lines, at this point individual teams are no longer the obstacles in the Warrior’s path. Immortality is. Never a small feat, but considering their Herculean performance thus far this season, a quest for immortality seems par for their course.
The first renowned record in the Warriors’ sights? The all-time consecutive wins record, (33), held by the Los Angeles Lakers from the 71’-72’ season. A team stacked with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and the man whose silhouette is on the actual ball used in NBA games, Jerry West. Ironically enough, should the Warriors continue to win, they will get an opportunity to attain win number 33 against #23, Lebron James, and the team they defeated in the 15’ Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not enough stakes? The game is scheduled for Christmas Day.
The next record on everyone’s mind? One of the most heralded in ALL of sports. The impossible 72-10 single season record held by the 95’-96’ Chicago Bulls. A team with the likes of Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, and the man whose silhouette rests above the number 23 etched into every pair of Nike sneakers balling out from those driveways to arenas, Michael Jordan. An 85% winning percentage down the stretch, and the Warriors will take over that place on the mantle as well.
A team featuring last year’s finals MVP, Andre Iguodala, emotional leader Draymond Green, and sharp shooting Klay Thompson, has the entire basketball world tuning in to West Coast all-nighters. But it’s the deadliest of all shooters in the land, Golden State’s captain, and the NEXT generation’s ‘Jordan,’ Steph Curry, who will ultimately decide whether this team can put their stamp on the league as THE greatest team of all time. And if he does, soon there will be a new magic number to don future sneakers, jerseys, and statues in NBA folklore. #30.