Andre Iguodala Was Key to Golden State Warriors' NBA Championship

Finals MVP wasn't a starter this season, but he was just what Warriors needed.

The Most Valuable Player wasn't even a starter this season.

The Warriors’ acquisition of Iguodala marked a flashpoint in the team’s push for its first title since 1975, signaling a shift from a free-agent wasteland to a destination. Iguodala’s wanting to play for Golden State brought credibility to the team’s ascent and helped to round out the roster beyond backcourt mates Curry and Klay Thompson.

Iguodala averaged 16.3 points, 4 assists and 5.8 rebounds during the Finals. He was also tasked with guarding James, holding the self-described best player in the world to 38.1 percent shooting from the field. He earned his first start of the season in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Warriors won that game, 103-82, and the next two after that with Iguodala in the starting lineup.

Iguodala hugged Curry after the Game Six victory, champions at last.

"This was awesome," Iguodala said following his team’s victory. "We talked about staying strong, stay with it. That was Coach's motto the whole playoffs. Stay with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal."

Iguodala won gold medals playing for the USA Men’s National Team at the 2012 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championship. Now he has a new item for his trophy case. Following Tuesday’s ceremony, Iguodala let his 7-year-old son, also named Andre, carry the Bill Russell Award.

“He did, like great, very good,” the boy said, echoing his father’s words, a championship cap draped over his ears. “He was balling. Hitting buckets all day.”

“What are we gonna work on?” the father said.

“Free throws,” the son said.

“No love! No love,” the NBA Finals MVP responded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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