Stephen Curry opens up about ‘complex’ relationship with LeBron James

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

LeBron James and Stephen Curry will go down as two of the greatest players of all time, and the Golden State Warriors star recently admitted he has a “complex” relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

“It’s complex, because you go from me playing in the tournament, him coming to watch to me coming in as a young rookie in the league and he giving me advice on how to get through some of the early struggles I was going to go through as a player, to the four Finals appearances in a row,” Curry told Sports Illustrated‘s Robin Lundberg.

Curry was referring back to his 2008 NCAA Tournament run at Davidson College, when James stopped by to watch his future NBA rival, who fell one game short of the Final Four as part of that Cinderella run.

The two eventually would go on to meet in four consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 to 2018, with Curry and the Warriors winning three times. The Cavaliers’ victory in 2016 came after they trailed in the series 3-1 and fulfilled James’ goal of bringing a first NBA title to his home state of Ohio.

Last season, James helped the Lakers eliminate the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs, giving the 38-year-old his second playoff series win against his 35-year-old counterpart. The two had been in opposite conferences for most of their careers until James arrived to Los Angeles for the 2018-19 NBA season.

The latest series between the two drew some interesting observations from both Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith as to who had the upper hand between the future Hall of Famers.

James has many famous friends throughout the league, with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony among the most notable. But James never had to compete against them for an NBA championship, so even though Curry calls James a great friend, they perhaps are not as close as they may have been otherwise without those rings and their legacies so often on the line.

Interestingly, Paul was acquired by the Warriors this offseason after being one of their fiercest rivals. It will be interesting to see if he and Curry exchange any tips on playing against James, who announced he will be returning for his 21st NBA season earlier this month.

Curry and James have won four NBA championships each, so the race between them for No. 5 will continue this season. Maybe when their careers are over and their rivalry is settled, they can take the time to further reflect on what it meant to them and the NBA as a whole.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.