Stephen Curry has hinted at this before: He and LeBron James respect each other, but LeBron isn’t inviting Curry over for a glass of wine anytime soon. Those two competed against each other on the court in the NBA Finals four straight years, and they competed off the court for the mythical “most popular player in the game” title.
Bill Simmons of The Ringer had ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on his “The Book of Basketball 2.0” podcast, and the two got into this discussion (hat tip to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area for the transcription).
Simmons: “We know this — I’m not sure the average human being knows this — but the LeBron-Curry thing is pretty real.”
Windhorst: “Oh yeah.”
Simmons: “It is not friendly. I think LeBron really has genuine disdain for him. And I think Curry’s kind of like, ‘F*** you, I’ve won as many titles as you have.’ And you could feel it festering in this 2016 (Finals) because there’s this underlying current of LeBron has gone back to Cleveland, the King is back, and then Curry comes in and kind of grabs the crown a little bit. And more importantly I think to LeBron … became really popular.”
Windhorst went on to say LeBron isn’t jealous of anyone but feels he had been so good for so long, and along comes Curry and he becomes the unanimous MVP and the guy leading the league in jersey sales.
Much like when the Rockets and Clippers square off, there are some real tensions there — and that’s a good thing. We could use a little more of that emotion around the league. Maybe not Kevin McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis level animosity, but a little more makes the league that much more entertaining.
This year the Curry/LeBron feud is kind of on hold, but with LeBron in Los Angeles and Golden State (hopefully) getting healthy and whole next season, this could be back on.
KURT HELIN/NBC SPORTS