San Francisco 49ers
Alex Smith will never command the same punch-anybody-in-the-face-who-speaks-ill-of-him-like lore that Joe Montana has in the Bay Area, but it’s hard not to ignore a few of the parallels between Smith’s Kansas City exit and Montana’s.
Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, ending the top pick of the 2005 NFL Draft’s roller-coaster tenure as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.
The former standout at the University of Utah was deemed a bust more times than one can count, endured a mercurial relationship with fickle 49ers fans seasoned to success, and played for three head coaches and six offensive coordinators during his reign.
Still, in spite of early turbulence, Smith found success in 2011 under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh, leading the 49ers to overtime of the NFC Championship Game before falling to the New York Giants.
Riding off of last season’s success, Smith led San Francisco to a 6-2 record and had the NFL’s highest completion percent before being concussed in an eventual tie against the St. Louis Rams. He was then forced to miss the team’s next game, a prime-time Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears.
Colin Kapernick stepped in Smith’s role and wowed the world with his arm strength, mobility and improvisation skills. Kaep dominated one game after another, and the job was his.
Sound vaguely familiar? It should.
Montana led the 49ers to rarified air and successes that most could only dream of in four Super Bowl triumphs. When Montana was injury-riddled in the early ‘90s, the younger, more mobile Steve Young filled in and controversy ensued.
Young’s meteoric rise eventually spurred Montana’s trade to, of all teams, the Chiefs, Smith's new home. Kaepernick leading the 49ers to the brink of a Super Bowl victory essentially punched Smith’s ticket out of town.
Smith obviously never experienced Montana-like success in the Bay Area–then again, who has?–but it still always felt like he got a raw deal, even if his early performances often warranted criticism.
Few, if any, 49ers fans will wish anything but the best for the perennially hard-lucked Smith. Through it all, he never lashed out or complained when others would.
He also openly supported the Giants to almost a costly extent in spite of growing up in the San Diego area.
And that will always go over well around these parts.
Golden State Warriors
We’ll have what Steph Curry’s having.
Sure, the Warriors have dropped their last four games, but on Tuesday, the Dubs’ wonderkid put on a timeless display on the NBA’s most hollowed ground.
Golden State fell to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden 109-105, but to no fault of Curry’s.
He dazzled the crowd in attendance, scoring a career-high 54 points thanks to a remarkable shooting performance. The fourth-year guard shot 18-for-28 from the field and even more remarkably, 11-for-13 from three-point range.
“There’s nothing we could have done,” Knicks forward Tyson Chandler told The New York Times. “We threw a lot of different looks at him. He’s a special young player with a very unique talent, the way he shoots the ball.”
The Warriors (33-27) are still in sixth place but only three games in front of the ninth-place Lakers. They play host to the Toronto Raptors tonight…
Not a unique talent: @seanswaby