Media outlets from all over the world gathered at the Chase Center in San Francisco a day before the start of the 2022 NBA finals.
The Golden State Warriors led by Western Conference Finals MVP Stephen Curry said it means a lot for his team to have another chance at a title.
"Everything that we all went through with this as the ultimate goal of getting back on this stage, the chance to play for another championship - Klay coming off of unreal rehab journey, broke my hand, Draymond was injured with a bunch of different stuff - we had a lot of young guys coming into the fold and trying to reclaim our chemistry as a core but also get those guys up to speed in how they can help us and help impact winning. Then you know, you look up and all the work that you put in over the last two years has paid off, built on the experience and just the veteran presence that we have," Curry noted.
"So all that stuff is just built into the context of what's happened since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals, and we're back here. So it's pretty special."
Meanwhile, Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jayson Tatum and his Boston Celtics look to bring another championship to their storied franchise. After a handful of disappointing exits from the playoffs the past five years, Tatum believes that his team is finally ready.
"I'll be honest, for myself, there have been times where I questioned, am I the right person to kind of lead a group like this. You know, never like doubted myself, but just moments after some of those losses and the tougher parts of the season," Tatum admitted. "That's human nature to kind of question yourself and things like that. But just always stick to what you believe in and trust in the work that you've put in. You know, it can't rain forever."
As for Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, he's got the utmost respect for the Celtics and even praised Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart by likening him to Draymond Green.
"It's an honor to be compared to a guy of Draymond's caliber, a champion, great leader, great defender," Smart said. "He does what he does very well. I like to look at myself as that way. I definitely take some notes from Draymond, the way he leads and the way that he plays the game."
Green, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, also had some kind words about Smart.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Marcus Smart, who is their leader on that side of the ball. In order to have everyone come in and play, there has to be some leadership there that's holding that all together, that's holding somebody responsible. And to me, I think that's Marcus Smart. I think that plays a huge role in it. I appreciate that more than anything," he said.
The Warriors are undefeated at home, 9-0, during the entire playoffs. They look to extend that win streak at the Chase Center in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals on Thursday.