23 July, 2023
LeBron James and Steph Curry go way back.
In fact, the Los Angeles Lakers star even saw Curry play at Davidson more than ten years ago when the Warriors guard was still playing there, as depicted in a 2008 NCAA Tournament scene from Curry’s new Apple TV+ documentary “Underrated.”
Curry was asked by Sports Illustrated on Friday to sum up his friendship with James in one word as he promotes his movie this week.
“It’s complex,” Curry said, “because you go from me playing in a tournament and him coming to watch to me entering the league as a young rookie and him giving me advice on how to get through some of the early struggles that I was going to go through as a player, to the four [NBA] Finals appearances in a row playing against each other, to even last year, five, six, or seven years later, playing in the playoffs once more.
“He’s a great dude, great friend, great competitor, all of the above. But it’s amazing to go back and look at where it all started at Ford Field in Detroit during a Sweet 16 game.”
When it came to his status on the national stage, that game on March 29 was Curry’s “coming-out” celebration, and James was in the front row for Davidson’s Sweet 16 meeting with No. 3 seeded Wisconsin. Curry scored 33 points and earned many people’s admiration, including that of James, as Curry and the Wildcats defeated the Badgers 73-56.
Curry remarked that evening in 2008, “It’s pretty cool to give him something to be happy about and cheer about, and just to entertain him.”
Curry mentioned that after being selected by Golden State a year later, James was a person he could learn from. Six more years later, from 2015 through 2018, James’ Cleveland Cavaliers began their four-year run in the Finals versus Curry and the Warriors.
The Warriors were most recently eliminated from the 2023 NBA playoffs in the second round by James and the Lakers. Two of the top players in the league have been battling head-to-head for so long that their rivalry and friendship may be unprecedented in the league. Additionally, Curry defended the underappreciation he feels the Steph-LeBron period deserves during a game of “Overrated or Underrated?” with Sports Illustrated.
Due to the current state of the NBA, Curry argued that it would be extremely difficult to find two teams who could make the Finals four years in a row. “Those four years will go down in history as incredible years.”
The connection has undoubtedly grown to be “complex” over time. Additionally, James and Curry’s journey together could still be very much alive as the 2023–24 NBA season draws around.