Posted: April 1, 5:45PM; Author: Nicholas Vega
Recently, I was on Twitter and came across a Tweet that compared the dominance of two different teams, from two different sports: the Golden State Warriors (NBA basketball) and Barcelona (soccer). Initially, I thought the comparison was as much as a stretch as it was trivial: how could two entirely different teams from two entirely different sports be compared?
When I dig a little deeper, however, I immediately see the overlap. Tomorrow, Barcelona and Madrid will face off in the infamous “El Clásico” game. Barcelona is an overwhelming favorite not only to win the game, but to run away as La Liga champions. On the other side of the spectrum, the Golden State Warriors are the defending champions filled with a deep, star-studded roster that is a massive favorite to win the NBA championship. Golden State is also on pace to eclipse the NBA record for most wins in a season (currently held by Michael Jordan’s 95-96 Bulls at 72-10). Golden State’s historic run is strikingly similar to Barcelona’s current Spanish club record of 39 straight games. Interestingly enough, this year Golden State is 36-0 at their home court (Oracle arena), and Barcelona has won their last 36 home matches.
The two teams are made up of star after star. Lionel Messi, the best soccer player on the planet, has contributed to 37 of Barcelona’s 143 goals this season (a remarkable 26%). Meanwhile, Stephen Curry, basketball’s newest most valuable player is averaging 30.0 points per game, has made an NBA record 361 3-point field goals, all while averaging only 34.0 minutes per game. His 2,159 total points this season account for 25% of Golden State’s total points this season, just like Messi.
But the beauty of these teams is that Messi and Curry are not alone. Accompanying Messi on the soccer field are Luis Suarez and Neymar; the three together have combined for 107 goals, more than virtually every team in La Liga except for Madrid. Stephen Curry has two main supporting cast members: Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Together, the three have combined for over 5,000 points this season, making them the highest points yielding trio in the league.
Finally, the two teams are incredibly fun to watch from the perspective of the fans. The average fan enjoys sports when they are played to perfection. This is to say that fans enjoy a great style of play, a style of play that results in optimal outcomes. For Barcelona and Golden State, this style of play seems to come naturally, which makes them so fun to watch. For both teams, passing is a key element to success. Just when you think that one player has the open shot, he passes up this shot to find his teammate who is even more wide open and can score with an exclamation point. In fact, Barcelona completes more passes than any other team in La Liga. All the while, Golden State has the highest assist-made basket percentage in the league.
Overall, the two teams are on historic stretches and have seemingly been impossible to beat this year. Only time will tell whether they will come away as La Liga and NBA champions.