California governor hoping to turn China president’s love for Kobe Bryant into admiration for Stephen Curry

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read

California Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted that he’s on a mission to convert Chinese president Xi Jinping’s pure love for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers into adoration for floor general Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

“We did talk a little bit about basketball,” Newsom said. “Again, back to the humanity and what a great way to level set in terms of a serious meeting, a serious moment in the relationship between our respective countries and talk about Kobe Bryant. And he talked very fondly about that visit to Los Angeles. He talked very fondly about the visit to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. I reinforced our hope and expectation, which is now being realized, that he’ll visit California again and meet with the president, which he’ll do at APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). That’s a point of pride, and I also made a point it’s a point of pride for me — about the Warriors, not just the Lakers. That’s well established in this meeting. We wanna make him a Curry fan.”

Curry is arguably playing as well as anyone in the NBA to start the 2023-24 regular season. He is averaging 33.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 55.8 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc in four games with the Warriors so far.

The point guard arguably had his best performance of the season so far in the Warriors’ most recent game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 30. He recorded 42 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in just 30 minutes of playing time. Also, Curry knocked down 15 of his 22 shots from the field, including seven of his 13 3-point attempts in a game the Warriors went on to win by a final score of 130-102 to improve their record to 3-1 on the season.

The 35-year-old has spent all 15 seasons of his NBA career with the Warriors, who drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. During his decade-plus stint with the team, he has earned nine All-Star appearances, nine All-NBA nods, two scoring titles, two regular-season MVPs, one NBA Finals MVP and four titles.

Curry put together arguably the best playoff series of his entire career against Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals. He averaged 31.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field, and the Warriors rallied back from a 2-1 series deficit to eliminate the Celtics in six games.

It’s arguable whether Curry is as great of a player as Bryant was, but he is still one of the best shooters and point guards in NBA history. If Jinping admired Bryant’s game, he should make sure to catch a Warriors game during his time in California, as there’s a good chance he’ll admire Curry’s greatness too.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.