Another couple of chapters were added to that history during Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Chase Center on Tuesday night, May 3. The headliner is that the Lakers came into the Warriors’ house and stole home court. The subhead is that Golden State very nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter to tie the contest with just a handful of seconds left to play.
But somewhere in the in the middle of the entry, interested readers will find a blurb about an interaction between Curry and James as the former made his way to the bench after being substituted out.
On Wednesday, Bleacher Report posted a split video of the now viral interaction, with Curry’s postgame explanation at the top and audible, while the on-court interaction between Curry and James plays below.
“He was just joking around about having to guard me all the way until I got to the bench,” Curry said.
Rivalry Between Steph Curry, LeBron James Among Greatest in NBA History
James was being playful and respectful of Curry simultaneously with his antics, though the relationship between the two hasn’t always been so amicable.
The Warriors met James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals four consecutive times between 2015-18, winning three of those matchups. Neither player spoke about the other in inflammatory terms, at least not publicly, during their heated and historic rivalry. However, the rhetoric they did utter never left the impression there was any love lost between two great players who were battling for league throne — both as team champions and for the right to lay claim to the title of best basketball player in the world.
James’ famous stare down of Curry after emphatically blocking one of his shots during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, the one title the Cavs captured, offered some interactive evidence to backup the long-held and widespread opinion that the two were less fond of one another both on and off the court.
Steph Curry, LeBron James Have Softened Over the Years
Despite James’ move to L.A. in 2019 and the subsequent intrusion onto Curry’s California turf, the animosity appears to have mostly dissipated in the five years since the two all-timers last met in the postseason. James has won a title with the Lakers in that time, while Curry has won one with the Warriors.
Both men spoke highly of the other before renewing their playoff rivalry officially on Tuesday night, with Curry kicking off the proceedings Sunday.
“It is special, from the first series we played [James] in Cleveland [in the] 2014-15 season to now, we’re blessed to be playing at this level still and excited about a new chapter,” Curry said. “Two teams trying to keep your season alive and chase the championship, and that’s what it’s all about.”
James addressed facing off against Curry again the following day.
“Two of the most competitive players that’s ever played this game, and we want to etch our names in the history books as much as we can by doing it our own way,” James said of Curry Monday. “Like I said, I got nothing but the greatest [admiration] and greatest respect for Steph.”