It’s a battle pitting the game’s most dominant player over the past decade against this year’s MVP.
And even before his breakout 2014-15 season, Curry wasn’t ceding any ground to James when discussing where the two ranked on the list of the game’s greats.
During an August 2014 interview on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Curry was asked whether he or James was a better offensive player.
A better offensive player, me or LeBron? That’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that question. Me.
Curry, who led the Warriors to a 5-game demolition of the Rockets in the Western Conference finals, will get a chance to back up those words when the finals begin June 4 in Oakland.
Though the two stars have plenty in common, their journeys to the top have contrasted in more ways than one.
Here’s what you need to know about the superstars both on and off the court:
1. Lebron Has Been in the NBA Twice as Long as Curry
James has been dominating the NBA since 2004, whereas Curry didn’t make his pro debut until 2010.
James has 12 seasons under his belt, including 10 playoff appearances, five previous trips to the finals, two titles and 11 All-Star appearances.
Curry’s six seasons have brought him to three playoff series, and two All-Star games. This will be his first trip to the finals.
James has racked up quite a few awards, including four regular season MVPs, two Finals MVPs, nine all-NBA selections, five all-Defensive picks, one scoring title and a Rookie of the Year award.
Editor’s note: Heavy’s partners at DraftKings are hosting NBA fantasy contests every day during the playoffs. It’s only $3 to play, so sign up and play today for a chance at thousands in cash prizes during the finals.
2. Curry’s 3-Point and Free Throw Percentages Surpass Lebron’s
James' averages are higher than Curry's in three of the six categories listed and tied in assists per game, but Curry’s 3-point and free throw percentages surpass James’. Below are comparative statistics for the two based on an average throughout their careers:
Points Per Game: James- 27.3, Curry- 20.9
Rebounds Per Game: James- 7.1, Curry- 4.1
Assists Per Game: James- 6.9, Curry- 6.9
Field Goal Percentage: James- .496, Curry- .471
3-Point Percentage: James- .342, Curry- .440
Free Throw Percentage: James- .745, Curry- .900
Click here to find both players’ total career stats and NBA Playoff stats.
3. Lebron’s Net Worth is 22 Times Larger Than Curry’s
Before the 2013-14 season started, the Warriors locked in Steph Curry to a market-level (at the time) contract for one of the league’s premiere distributors and shooters. Curry is making $44 million on a four-year contract that runs until the end of the 2016-17 season.
Curry’s net worth is estimated at $20 million in 2015 with an annual average salary of $11 million, according to CelebritiesMoney.com. Under Armour also launched Curry’s signature shoe, the Curry One, in January 2015, adding another significant source of income for Curry.
But in comparison to King James’, Curry’s worth is chump change.
James has played in six more NBA seasons than Curry, which accounts for a decent amount of the financial disparity. He opted to return to Cleveland for the 2014-15 season after four years in Miami.
James made about $72 million in 2014, right behind Beyonce Knowles in Forbes’ list of Most Powerful Celebrities. By 2014, he had made over $150 million just in salary from the NBA and over an estimated $300 million from his various endorsements.
4. They Grew Up in Contrasting Environments
The Curry family has been know as a basketball dynasty with two generations of professional basketball players in the family. Dell Curry, Steph’s father, played in the NBA from 1986-2002 after being drafted in the first round out of Virginia Tech. He played for the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and then the Toronto raptors before retiring.
Steph’s brother, Seth Curry, transferred from Liberty University to Duke University after the 2008-09 season and was drafted in 2013 by the Erie Bayhawks into the NBA D-League.
Steph Curry paved his own way to the NBA via his talent, but was given every opportunity in the world on his way in with money and an impressive role model living under the same roof.
James, on the other hand, grew up poor in Akron, Ohio. Gloria James gave birth to LeBron when she was just 16 years old. Lebron’s father, Anthony McClelland, was Gloria’s casual sex partner and left when he found out she was pregnant. Gloria lived with her mother throughout her pregnancy, and after LeBron was born until her mother died when LeBron was 3. She found herself alone without so much as a high school degree to raise her only son and was forced to work several jobs to keep them above water. The two moved 12 times in three years.
When LeBron turned nine, Gloria decided that he needed a stable home similar to the one she had growing up and it was LeBron’s pee wee football coach “Big Frankie” Walker who took him in while Gloria concentrated on making money to support herself and her son.
When LeBron wrote his letter to Cleveland, he attributed much of his success to the hard times he and his mother faced before he was discovered as a basketball prodigy. For LeBron, the road was a bumpy one.
5. Both Married Their Teenage Sweethearts
James married his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, in September 2013 after 12 years of dating. James and Brinson began dating when Savannah was just 16 while attending St. Vincent–St. Mary, a mostly white private school. Brinson became pregnant with James’ child in the middle of their senior year of high school and went to prom 5 months pregnant. She gave birth to LeBron Jr. on October 4, 2004 and had their next son, Bryce Maximus, on June 14, 2007. Their third child, a girl named Zhuri, was born in November 2014.
Steph Curry and Ayesha Alexander have become one of the most popular NBA couples between Curry’s talent and Ayesha’s beauty. Curry and Alexander first met when they were teenagers at the church their families both attended. They were both in the youth group at the church, the Central Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina.
They reconnected a few years later while Ayesha was in Los Angeles pursuing an acting career and Steph was at a basketball camp. He sent her a Facebook message and they went out on a date, they told the Charlotte Observer in an article about their wedding.
When she moved back to Charlotte, they started dating. Steph was a student at Davidson College at the time, playing on the Wildcats’ basketball team. The couple tied the knot in 2011 after three years of dating.