The word “frenemy” may be the best way to describe Steph Curry’s relationship with LeBron James, but the two appear to be on friendlier terms as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to take on the Golden State Warriors in the postseason. Things were much more intense during the Warriors’ epic NBA finals battles against the Cavaliers when James was still in Cleveland. Now, Curry only wants to offer gratitude as he prepares to face James for another postseason battle.
“It’s amazing [facing James] because you’re still in the fight,” Curry told reporters on April 30, 2023 after the Warriors advanced to the second round. “It’s better than the alternative of [being] on the outside looking in and having been down O-2 in this series, nothing’s guaranteed and you don’t take anything for granted.
“And it is special, from the first series we played him in Cleveland [in the] 14-15 season to now, we’re blessed to be playing at this level still and excited about a new chapter. Two teams trying to keep your season alive and chase the championship and that’s what it’s all about.”
Steph Curry on Lakers: ‘We Know Bron Really Well’
Curry noted that the Lakers look “extremely different” than the roster that existed prior to the NBA trade deadline. Los Angeles has a number of recent acquisitions now playing key roles including D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Malik Beasley.
“They’re totally different than the Kings, present a lot of different challenges,” Curry noted. “We know Bron really well. Played them a couple times I think since the trade [deadline], and they look extremely different.
“So, I know they’re playing good basketball and it’s weird, a No. 6-No. 7 seed series. We get home court advantage, so we got to take advantage of that. But they’re big, and we got to be able to have everybody locked in on our preparation over the next 48 hours.”
LeBron James Tried to Recruit Steph Curry During the 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend, Says Insider
James’ tone with Curry has changed with the superstar publicly praising the Warriors star on multiple occasions in recent years. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has followed James’ career dating back to high school and suggested that the Lakers star was attempting to recruit Curry during the 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend.
“I thought it was hilarious over All-Star Weekend, LeBron praising Steph up one side and down the other,” Windhorst detailed during a March 2021 edition of “The Hoop Collective” podcast. “How much he loves his game, how much he respects him. …LeBron has obviously begun [the] recruiting of Steph just in the event that he wouldn’t extend and that somehow he would become a free agent and the Lakers would have a swing at him.”
Whatever narrow pathway existed for the two superstars to be teammates appeared to close after Curry signed a contract extension with Golden State months later in August 2021. Curry’s four-year, $215 million deal runs through the 2025-26 season. For context, James would be 41 years old when Curry’s current contract runs out.