Jordan Bell and Nick 'Swag Champ' Young went toe-to-toe for MVP of the Warriors' parade

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4612/" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Curry">Stephen Curry</a> celebrated. Some of his teammates celebrated just a little harder. (Getty)
Stephen Curry celebrated. Some of his teammates celebrated just a little harder. (Getty)

The race for 2018 NBA Finals MVP went down to the wire of Game 4 of the Golden State Warriors’ sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Kevin Durant’s dominant Game 3 and series-closing triple-double edging out Stephen Curry’s monster performances in Games 2 and 4 to grant Durant his second straight Bill Russell Trophy. And yet, somehow, the race for MVP of Tuesday’s Warriors championship parade might be even closer.

Let’s consider the contenders:

Nick Young

The central-casting selection for the J.R. Smith of this year’s festivities, Young — who had the line of the night (several of them, in fact) after the Warriors’ Game 4 win — showed up on Tuesday seemingly ready to borrow from former Dubs great Stephen Jackson’s playback by making love to the pressure of turning up for the occasion:


Once the parade itself got underway, the robed, shirtless 33-year-old wasted little time hopping off his party bus so that he could celebrate with the fine people of Oakland:


Joining Young in the jubilation: his longtime partner-in-crime, former Washington Wizards teammate and now two-time NBA champion JaVale McGee


… who did his level best to kick things up a notch, not only going down to the street to high-five fans, but straight-up grabbing children out of the crowd and holding them aloft like Simba:


And Nick really, really wants to make sure we know how happy he is that he can share his first championship experience with JaVale:


Just in case we were wondering, he confirmed that he was feeling good this Tuesday …


… and that we should bid farewell to “Swaggy P,” and say hello to the “Swag Champ,” plus all that the transition would entail …


… before making a clean getaway on a vehicle moving just slightly faster than the Warriors’ buses:


A pretty compelling case. However, we call to the stand …

Jordan Bell

The rookie big man began the day by sharing on social media that he’d forgotten something back at the lab …


… before, shirtless and goggled as well, he too wound up pounding the pavement and reaching out to touch the good people of the Bay in exchange for a fresh taste of Hennessey after having gone empty:



Pulled aside for an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Bell made it clear that those goggles weren’t for the kind of spray the Warriors had enjoyed in the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena, because he was off that particular brand of drink:


The Warriors chose Bell with a second-round draft pick that they’d bought from the Chicago Bulls for $3.5 million, believing him to be the kind of mobile and versatile four-five who could develop into a quality supplement to what Draymond Green provides on the defensive end. Evidently, that similarity extends to trolling:


All the excitement — and, just maybe, the Henny — seemed to get to Bell as the parade made its way toward its conclusion, leaving the young man seeking a manufactured cool breeze for some respite:


Still, though: a very strong showing for the rookie, indeed. But have we considered …

Stephen Curry

The two-time NBA MVP also got down and chilled with the people, soaking up sun and sprayed booze in equal measure …


… before cutting off a fairly staid and normal interview to sprint away from both the microphone and his security detail to enjoy some time with a fan base that loves him more than just about any other Warrior in recent memory:


And yet, his shirt remained on, he didn’t scream about how everyone hated him, and he managed to avoid just taking drinks out of an open bottle of liquor handed to him by a random someone he didn’t know. Responsible? Yes. What we’re looking for here? Perhaps not.

How about …

Kevin Durant



Nope!

But what about …

Draymond Green

First, there was the shirt:


Then, there was the sequel:


And then, there was the spice:


It seems like a month ago, now, that Green and Tristan Thompson tangled late in Golden State’s Game 1 win. Apparently, though, Green hasn’t forgotten his interactions with Thompson, which led to a $25,000 fine for the Cleveland big man, an invitation from Draymond to “meet him in the streets,” and a few more games of bad blood before the Warriors wrapped things up.

“We just cut from a different cloth,” Green said by way of offering a non-politically-correct answer to how the Warriors pulled off their third title win in four years. “There’s a lot of guys in this league, they saw, we just cut from a different cloth. That’s all I really got for you […] We just ain’t cut the same. I told one of them dudes from the Cavs after the game. He tried to shake my hand. I said ‘Tristan, we ain’t cut the same.’”

It’s not quite “They suck? Yup,” but one suspects the Cavs dislike it just as much.

For my money, Bell deserves the Parade MVP honors, but I wouldn’t fight you in a public square if you went another direction. The real winners, though: fans of any other NBA team who might have felt like they needed more reason to hate the Warriors. Next time you feel like you’re running empty, just take a gander back at this, and chances are you’ll find yourself full to burstin’ in no time flat … which, naturally, is just the way they like it.

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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoosports.com or follow him on Twitter!

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