See the teams face to face they have won five of the last eight NBA titles and seven of the last eight Western Conference crowns are already reason enough to justify the attraction that the key is generating between them Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. But that clash has an extra magnetism: a new duel in a decisive instance (perhaps the last) between Stephen Curry and LeBron Jamesthe two most decisive players of the last decades in the most important basketball league on the planet.
These two franchises had not met in a playoff crossover in more than three decades. The last was in the semifinals of the West in 1991: the Lakers of Magic Johnson and James Worthy they prevailed 4-1 against the group that had as main figures Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. However, the recent history between Curry and James in knockout cases is much thicker.
Twenty-two times these two cracks have met in four consecutive finals, between 2015 and 2018, When LeBron was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry was the winner in 15 games and his team won the trophy in 2015, 2017 and 2018. James and the cavs They clinched the title in 2016 with a feat no team had achieved before and no one ever would: recover from a 3-1 deficit in the final series. Additionally, in those 22 games, James averaged 33 points (plus 11.5 rebounds and 9.3 assists), while the Warriors’ point guard averaged 25.4 points.
The lives of these two players have something in common since the day they came into the world, ever since both were born in Akron, a city of 212,000 inhabitants in the state of Ohio, located 65 kilometers south of Cleveland. Curry’s stay was short-lived: before he was one year old, he moved to Charlotte, as his father, Dell, had signed a contract with the Hornets. Instead, James lived all of his childhood and adolescence in Akron, where he completed his secondary education in St. Vincent-St. Mary high school before being drafted in 2003 by the Cavaliers and jumping to the NBA without attending college.
Although Cleveland was his home (he played there 11 seasons in two cycles), the two-time Olympic champion of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 also had a spell with the Miami Heat, with which he won titles in 2012 and 2013 , and arrived in Los Angeles in 2018, after the final loss to the Cavs. The Lakers gave him his fourth crown in 2020. Instead Curry, after three years at Davidson College, He was selected by the Warriors in the 2009 draft and since then he hasn’t left the franchise with which he has also won four championships, the last one last season.
The collective triumphs of both have been matched by individual successes. James, 38, was voted the most valuable player of the season four times (in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013) and four more as the most valuable of the finals (2012, 2013, 2016 and 2020). And in February of this year he broke the record of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and became the player with the most points scored in the NBA regular season (he finished this season with 38,652).
curries, 35, He was named season MVP in 2016 and 2017, and last year he received the Most Outstanding Man award in the Finals his team beat the Boston Celtics 4-2. In addition, the point guard is the player with the most 3-pointers in NBA history: in December 2021, during a game that Golden State beat the New York Knicks 105-96, he broke the record previously held by Ray Allen (2,973). Since then he has continued to add and already in the regular phase it brought his count to 3,390.
“We are two of the most competitive players the sport has ever seen. We want to put our name in the history books and we play our way. I just have admiration and respect for Steph“, praised his rival (and self-praise) James on Monday. “It’s special to know that we’re lucky to be able to continue playing at this level since we first met in 2015,” said Curry. It was a little further away Steve Kerr, Warriors coach: “LeBron is one of the greatest players of all time. When you play against him, you learn how smart he is. I realized that after every timeout because he knew what we were going to do.”
These men were also the two highest paid basketball players in the world over the past year. James appeared fourth in the list of top-earning athletes published this week by the specialized magazine Forbes and directed by Cristiano Ronaldo: he received 119.5 million dollars, the product of the 44.5 million that his contract with the Lakers brought him and the 75 million he got thanks to his sponsors and to its diversified investments. In June 2022, he became the first active basketball player to earn $1 billion in revenue.
Curry was ranked eighth on the Forbes list, earning $100.4 million. Base was the player with the best salary in the NBA this season ($48.1 million) and next season will become the first man to break the 50 million barrier in the league, as he will receive 51.9 million. He also boasts lucrative endorsement deals with companies like Under Armor and Chase Bank, and investments in media company Unanimous Media, virtual reality platform Golf+, and startup TMRW Sports, founded by golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
With no financial hardships to contend with, the two stars are focused on achieving their fifth consecration. One will see his desire crushed and another will come out stronger after a series to which the Lakers arrived in clear ascent, favored by the physical recovery of Anthony Davis and by the successes in the trades made in February: they won 9 of the last 11 games in the regular season, they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in play- in and beat the Memphis Grizzlies, second seed in the West, 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
The Warriors, who finished sixth in the regular season, had to sweat fat drop win 4-3 and leave the Sacramento Kings on the road. Sunday, in the decisive match of the key, Curry showed his leadership and shipped with 50 points at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Thus he set a scoring record in a seventh game of a playoff series.
The duel between the Warriors and Lakers began on Tuesday at the Chase Center in San Francisco, where the Los Angeles team prevailed 117-112 in game one with 30 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks by Anthony Davis. That night, James had 22 points and 11 rebounds for winners, while Curry had 27 points for losers. The winner of this series will face the winner of the duel between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference final (the ones from Colorado are leading 2-0).
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.