In many ways, when you get two once-in-a-generation players, it would be fair, and perhaps easiest, to just acknowledge the greatness of both rather than looking to make endless comparisons.
However, it’s human nature to want to isolate the title of GOAT (Greatest of All Time) or the best current player in any chosen sporting field, to one, and that’s when things get interesting, not least when the players in question are going head to head in a key NBA playoffs series, as is the case with Golden State Warriors’ icon Steph Curry and Los Angeles Lakers hero LeBron James.
The fact that these two giants are meeting in the postseason is in itself something of a surprise, chiefly because the Lakers have been pretty woeful for the best part of two seasons, and it took a strong run of form at the tail-end of the season for the Cryto.com Arena team to make it just to the play in tournament.
Backed by LeBron, Darvin Ham’s team went 14-6 in March and April and then saw off the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in before seeing off the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.
Now they face reigning NBA champions in a series that is going to be thrilling viewing for fans of both teams and the neutrals, no doubt all searching for the best sports streaming service to view from.
While 38-year-old LeBron James has competed in the NBA for three franchises, including the Cleveland Cavaliers (in two spells), the Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Lakers, Curry has spent his entire career at the Chase Center team.
Talk of the pairing has, of course, increased since the two teams are going head to head in the Western Conference semifinals, and the relationship between the players is clearly cordial. Curry and LeBron were seen talking to each other when the Lakers man was on defensive duties.
"He was just joking around about having to guard me until I got all the way to the bench," Curry commented. Indeed the two are well known for playing with smiles on their faces while simultaneously being two of the fiercest winners in the game.
Famously the two players were both born in the same hospital in Akron, Ohio, albeit a few years apart, and they have had some famous run-ins over the years.
Of course, the two players went face to face in an incredible four successive NBA Finals series between 2015 and 2018. In the first of those, Steph Curry, who won the NBA MVP for the 2014-15 season, was the victor with the Warriors beating the Cavaliers in six games.
The following season it was LeBron James who emerged victorious, putting in a Finals MVP display as Tyronn Lue’s side edged the series in game seven.
2016-17 saw Kevin Durant play the key role as Steve Kerr’s side won in five games, and in 2017-18, it took just four games to seal a third NBA Championship in four seasons for the Warriors and Curry.
LeBron James has four NBA Championship rings to his name, including back-to-back wins with the Miami Heat, one success with the Cavaliers, and one with the Lakers from 2020.
The legendary player is, of course, now the holder of the accolade for most NBA points scored, and he’s a 19-time NBA All-Star pick. Tellingly, even during the poor recent form shown by the Lakers, prior to this season, LeBron James was still putting in a shift, proof that he doesn’t just make hay when the sun shines.
Oh, and incidentally, he’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Like LeBron, Curry is also a four-time NBA Champion, all with the Dubs. He’s a nine-time NBA All-Star pick and a two-time NBA MVP. It took a while for the Golden State star to get his team in motion; in his first three seasons, he failed to boost the team into the postseason, but between 2013 and 2019, he was a massive consistent success.
However, when the two take each other on in playoff action, it is certainly Curry who comes out on top in terms of the stats. In 22 NBA playoff clashes, the Warriors man has won 15, and LeBron has managed seven wins.
However, interestingly, in terms of the personal stats of the two NBA heavyweights, LeBron averages 33 points per game in these meetings, while Curry is down at 25.4.
LeBron has 11.5 assists per game to Curry’s 6.3, and he also leads in terms of rebounds with 9.3 to 5.9.
Now you could argue that the reason these stats are a little skewed in LeBron’s favor is that he has proven a far bigger influence for the teams he’s fronted, i.e., in these four finals appearances for the Cleveland Cavaliers, whereas Curry’s Golden State Warriors were greatly benefitting from the likes of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
The playoff meeting between these two Californian giants isn’t one that either player is going to take lightly.
"You’ve got to be super-duper locked in," stated LeBron James
"You can’t make a mistake. You just can’t. You can’t make a mistake, or they’ll make you pay. It’s literally that simple. Some teams that I’ve played in my career that’s had that notion on you, and they’re one of them." He added.
In game one, it was the Lakers who came out winners, 117-112, at the Chase Center, with Curry managing 27 points to LeBron’s 22, and the series looks like it is going to run, perhaps all the way to game seven as both players look to secure their fifth NBA title.