Back in 2015, no one knew the Golden State Warriors were about to reach the NBA Finals five seasons in a row and win three titles along the way. Steph Curry was still growing into the superstar he is today, and the Warriors hadn’t proven yet that they had what it takes to be champions.
But Tiger Woods saw something special in Curry at the time. After Golden State fell behind in the second round of the playoffs, Woods decided to give Curry a personal pep talk, and his two-word message to the Warriors’ All-Star kickstarted a dynasty.
The Golden State Warriors were still trying to find their championship swagger in 2015
In 2015, The Golden State Warriors hadn’t become the Golden State Warriors quite yet. The team had a promising core composed of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, but they had yet to take the next step to legitimate NBA title contenders.
Head coach Mark Jackson led the Warriors to two straight playoff appearances in 2013 and 2014 for the first time since 1991 and 1992. However, Golden State was bounced before the Western Conference Finals in both seasons.
The franchise felt it needed a change at the top, so it replaced Jackson with Steve Kerr prior to the 2014-15 season. Boy, did that turn out to be the right move.
In his first season at the helm, Kerr led the Warriors to a 67-15 regular-season record and a No. 1 seed in the Western Conference heading into the postseason. Still, the Warriors didn’t know how to win with championship expectations quite yet, and they fell behind 2-1 to the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.
That’s when Tiger Woods intervened.
Tiger Woods kickstarted the Warriors dynasty with two simple words for Steph Curry
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After the Warriors fell behind early in the Memphis series, Steph Curry got a call from the greatest golfer to ever live. Tiger Woods, who evidently saw something special in Curry at that time, wasn’t going to let him waste this opportunity.
Curry recently appeared on the Huddle and Flow podcast with Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter, and he told the story of Woods’ epic pep talk that day.
“[Woods] actually called me out of the blue back in 2015 during our playoff run — in the second round against Memphis,” Curry said. “We were down [two games to one] and my PR director for the Warriors said, ‘Hey, if this Florida number calls, you might want to answer it.’ I was like, ‘All right.’
“He called me about an hour later and it was the biggest pep talk of all time — just out of the blue,” Curry continued. “He spoke some life into our comeback during that round. I said, ‘I’m ready for it. I know we’re gonna get it done.’ And he dropped the mic at the end of the call, he was like, ‘Prove it,’ and then just hung up.
“It don’t get no better than that. He lit the fire under me for sure.”
“Prove it.” Those two simple, yet powerful words from one of the most ruthless competitors in professional sports history sent the Warriors on a collision course for championship glory.
Curry, who averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game through the first three games of the series, went off for 27.7 points, 6.7 assists, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game the rest of the series after Woods challenged him.
The Warriors dynasty was born
Following Tiger Woods’ stern message to Steph Curry, the Warriors ripped off three straight wins to beat the Grizzlies in six games. Golden State, after losing two of its first three games of the series, only lost three more times for the remainder of the playoffs. Championship No. 1 was in the books, but the dynasty had just begun.
The Warriors went on to reach the NBA Finals in each of the next four seasons. They won three titles during a five-year stretch that immortalized them as the most dominant team of the decade.
And who would’ve thought that magical run stemmed from a simple, two-word message from Tiger Woods himself?