As if the NBA Finals don’t provide enough drama on their own, LeBron James and Stephen Curry apparently have issues with each other. It became apparent in the 2016 Finals, when James blocked Curry’s shot and had words for him.
There was then a reminder in Game 1 of this year’s Finals, when James again blocked Curry and the two traded barbs. Of course, for the NBA, this isn’t anything new.
After all, it was the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird that helped build the league into the powerhouse that it is today. Still, the James-Curry issue seems to have something more to it, something that goes beyond competition being taken to the next level.
Marcus Thompson, author of “Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Stephen Curry,” offered an explanation during an appearance on “The Big Lead With Jason McIntyre:”
“There’s this thing there with he and LeBron that’s a little weird, and I do talk about it in the book. There was a time where LeBron and Steph were like little brother-big brother. LeBron was like a mentor. He was a big fan of Curry, he would go to Curry’s games at Davidson. Even when they got to the NBA, they had moments where LeBron is looking at him like, ‘Wow.’ And then Steph kind of like challenged LeBron’s status. And I think the part that’s odd for Steph is like, why does that mean there has to be some beef between us? He loves LeBron, he respects LeBron. He’s like, ‘Because the outside world is pitting us together, why do you and I have to now have this disdain between us? I thought we were cool.’ That’s the question that’s in Curry’s mind and Curry’s camp. ‘Why do you not like me when all I did was basically respect everything you did and kind of follow the model you carried out?’ So there’s an interesting dynamic there, and it’s not just with LeBron. Steph wants to be accepted by all these guys.”
If this is to be taken as fact, then the dynamic between Curry and James does indeed have a bit of depth to it.
James took Curry under his wing, but now Curry is a threat. His Warriors have defeated James’ Cavaliers for two of the last three championships, and appear poised to do so again this year, with Curry on track to earn Finals MVP.
Of course, for fans, this extra layer of drama simply ads to the intrigue that already exists when two of the top players of all time go head-to-head. When the time comes and the dust settles, the hope is that Curry and James will be able to move past their differences.
For now though, with the greatest prize in the sport at stake, neither will have any interest in backing down.
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