Steph Curry may be the best basketball player on the planet and making the game look effortless, but things could've turned out so differently for the superstar.
In his early years in the league, as has been well documented, Curry struggled with multiple ankle injuries that threatened to ruin his career.
In May 2011, the Golden State Warriors point guard had surgery on his right ankle to repair torn ligaments that were caused by multiple sprains from the previous campaign. Although the ankle healed prior to the 2011-12 season, Curry suffered five ankle sprains in that year as he played just 26 games.
It was decided he needed another surgery and as he entered the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys in April 2012, his career was on the line.
"He was turning his ankle in completely nontraditional, crazy ways," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said, via ESPN.
"It was scary. I'd never seen someone sprain his ankle like that prior to Steph. And I haven't seen it since."
Little did the surgeons know they were saving the future of the NBA and somebody who would become one of the most dominant players in the game in ways never seen before.
Luckily for basketball fans the world over, the reigning MVP recovered from the ankle issues and as they say, the rest is history. But not many expected him to become the player he is, including one of his former teammates.
12-year NBA veteran Vladimir Radmanovic played with Curry for two years and admits he never expected him to become as good as he is today.
"Honestly, I didn’t. I could see that he would be a great player but I just couldn’t see that he would be this good and I’m really happy that I didn’t see it and I was wrong," Radmanovic said speaking to GiveMeSport.
"When he first came into the league he was averaging about 20 points a game so that tells you a lot from a young player, not many are able to do that in their first year so he showed the talent and with the ankle injury he had in the first and second year his career was questionable, and nobody really knew what would happen and luckily for all of us, he was able to recover from that injury and now he’s playing at a high level."
Now Curry, barring a miracle, will win his second consecutive MVP award, which must've seemed like a fading dream when he was on the operating table in 2012.
The Warriors are also the favourites to win back-to-back titles this year as they begin their quest on Saturday in a first-round matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Despite winning an NBA regular season record 73 games, Serbian Radmanovic believes his former team must cap that off by winning the Larry O'Brien trophy in June to be considered among the best teams ever.
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"I rank them high [among the best teams of all time] but they have to prove themselves by not only breaking records but winning championships too, otherwise that record won’t mean anything," the Serbian said.
"If they’re able to keep that team and build around Steph and a couple of other guys that they have like Klay and Draymond, they’ll have a great chance of being one of the great teams and leave a mark in NBA history but that’s only possible if they win a championship so we’ll see what happens at the end of the season."