Steph Curry has played against LeBron James in the NBA Finals and battled in the Western Conference, but now the Golden State Warriors star is relishing the chance to play on the same team for the first time ever.
The longtime rivals are teaming up for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, where James snagged Curry in the second round of the televised All-Star draft. Ahead of the game, Curry spoke out about teaming up with James.
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Curry Excited to Play With James
After playing against James on the NBA court across his 12-year career, Curry will be the starting point guard for Team LeBron. There will be plenty of new experiences for Curry, who will be in a starting lineup with Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic for the first time ever. Team LeBron’s other starter, Giannis Antetokounmpo, teamed up with Curry on All-Star rosters in 2018 and 2019.
Curry said he’s especially excited to play with James and to see what they can do together with a stacked roster that includes several MVP candidates.
“Love to get that experience having played against him for the last 12 years and obviously in the Finals with all that back and forth and All-Star Games and what not,” Curry told reporters on Sunday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’ll be dope to compete, go out there and try and get this win. Representing Team LeBron, it’s gonna be a pretty cool experience.”
They will play against Team Durant, drafted by Kevin Durant and featuring a starting lineup of Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, and Zion Williamson as a last-minute replacement for Joel Embiid, who was unable to play due to the league’s health and safety protocol.
Ahead of the game, Curry was full of praise for James’s work ethic, which has helped him to remain one of the league’s best players at age 36 and a favorite to take home his fifth career MVP award.
“He obviously has a blessed basketball mind and has proven that by over the course of the years being able to evolve his game and has time has gone on, proved a lot of people wrong that he can play at this level even at this point in his career,” Curry said, via NBC Sports Bay Area.
Curry’s Appearance Matches Franchise Record
The second-round pick by James puts Curry in the starting lineup and allows him to reach a franchise record. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, his seventh All-Star Game appearance — all of which have been starts — ties Rick Barry’s franchise mark and puts him closer to reaching the Warriors record for appearances, currently held by Paul Arizin with 10 from the franchise’s days in Philadelphia.
Curry comes into Sunday’s All-Star Game rested after getting a day off for the final Warriors game before the break, a loss to the Phoenix Suns. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, Curry and the other players had to go through a two-day coronavirus protocol and stay at a league hotel over the weekend in order to play in Sunday’s game.
The NBA All-Star Game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday. Curry will also compete in the 3-point shootout, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.