Golden State was driven by its beef with CP3

When Chris Paul joined the Golden State Warriors in 2023, everyone agreed that was … pretty weird. On its surface, the reasoning there is obvious: opposition. Stephen Curry’s Warriors won a bunch of championships in the 2010s, and they all came at Paul’s expense in one way or another. Paul fell short of individual accolades because Curry surpassed him as an elite point guard, and Paul’s teams in Houston and Los Angeles fell short of glory because Golden State was better.

But it’s not just rivalry. Paul joining the Warriors is also weird because of beef. The rivalry between Curry and Paul is complicated by the fact that Curry followed in Paul’s footsteps and saw him as a mentor. It’s further complicated by the fact that Warriors like Draymond Green pushed Curry to subvert that relationship and use it against Paul. And… it’s definitely complicated by the fact that, when the Clippers eliminated the pre-dynasty Warriors from the playoffs in 2014, Paul was involved in a postgame fracas wherein someone mocked Golden State’s loss.

Basically, the Warriors made an enemy of Paul as motivation for their run of success. They took extra delight in stifling a player they saw as manipulative and dirty, and in doing so only irritated him into more feisty behavior.

To really understand why Chris Paul becoming a Warrior is so weird, you’ve gotta understand the player-vs.-team beef that underscored that longstanding rivalry.

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