Stephen Curry has long since graduated from the nickname “The Baby-Faced Assassin”. Still, despite being a 33-year-old, 12-year pro in the NBA with a never-ending list of accolades, some – particularly big fans of LeBron James – will always view Steph in the shadow of LBJ.
During this past weekend’s American Century Championship golf tournament where Steph, his younger brother Seth and their father Dell were competing, one fan of Chef Curry wanted to remind everybody that the Golden State Warriors star still had the edge on LeBron in some areas, including head-to-head meetings in the Finals.
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While Curry being James’ dad is obviously not true, not to mention literally impossible because the former is three years younger, the poke at King James had to have made the Dubs star smile. Steph and wife Ayesha have three children by the way, none of them named LeBron, while James’ estranged father is actually named Anthony McClelland, not Stephen Curry.
Steph vs. LeBron: By the Numbers
The last time Steph and LeBron took the court together was nearly two months ago, when LBJ gave Curry an unfortunate case of déjà vu in their Play-In Tournament contest. That classic game was obviously far from the first time the pair of all-time greats squared off though, as they played each other in the NBA Finals four times in a row from 2015 to 2018 – plus a bunch of other regular season tilts.
Though it’s not completely fair to compare the statistics and number of accolades for both players, since LeBron has played six more NBA seasons than Steph, there are some areas that can be put head-to-head fairly.
In the career accolades department, LeBron clearly has the edge – taking into account the six-season advantage – in All-Star appearances (17-7), All-NBA teams (17-7) and All-Defensive teams (6-0). Where Steph has been better is in scoring (two-time scoring champion vs. one-time scoring champion).
Other accomplishments of note that can’t fairly be judged due to the discrepancy in age and career-length include LeBron being a four-time regular season MVP vs. Steph winning two regular season MVPs.
When it comes to the individual statistics, it’s also hard to see how Steph measures up against LeBron simply because they are two very, very different types of players. LeBron has never been and will never be the type of elite shooter that Steph is, but Steph will never be the triple-double machine or defender that LBJ is.
They’ve also both had an insane amount of success in the postseason, but here is where many, including the fan who called Steph “LeBron’s dad”, probably feel that the Dubs guard has his best advantage. Curry has won three of the four NBA Finals meetings between the two clubs.
For the LeBron-lovers however, they’ll point to the King’s eight straight trips to the Finals from 2011 to 2018 and nine out of 10 trips if you include 2020 with the Lakers. Of LeBron’s 10 career NBA Finals series, his teams are 4-6.
Who Will Be the Next ‘Faces of the NBA’?
With Steph and LeBron still barely holding on to the title of the faces of the league, it’s interesting to speculate who it will be next.
While Chris Paul is currently on the brink of bringing the Phoenix Suns their first NBA title – and his first as well – CP3 is the same age as LeBron, 36. Paul’s backcourt mate Devin Booker has shown flashes of brilliance in his career, but might still be behind at least a few candidates to be the next face of the NBA.
Though Nikola Jokić is the current MVP, his team’s disappointing early exit – and the Joker’s ejection in the team’s final game against the Suns – is what many NBA fans may still have fresh in their minds. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was the MVP runner-up, but on top of his team’s huge playoff upset loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Embiid may be the most injury-prone MVP candidate in the game.
The three potential next “faces of the NBA” – in order of likelihood – should be Damian Lillard, Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo. With Antetokounmpo playing out of his mind in the playoffs, an NBA championship this month may be the last step in officially passing the baton onto him.