Fierce Rivals? Nah, LeBron Was One Of Steph Curry’s First Big Fans
It benefits the media and the NBA to chase the narrative that LeBron James and Steph Curry are fierce rivals -- Starks and Lannisters in pitched battle for the NBA title. LeBron, many would have you believe, is angry and brooding, think of nothing but revenge on Curry and the Warriors since Monday.
But here's the truth: LeBron was and is one of Curry's biggest fans, and vise versa.
In 2007-08, Curry was a sophomore at Davidson, which was making an impressive run in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats had beaten Gonzaga and Georgetown, and were playing in the finals of the Midwest Regionals in Detroit against Wisconsin. James, in town to play the Pistons the next day, decided to go to the game to check out this amazing guard that everyone was talking about, Steph Curry.
LeBron did an interview with a local radio station (he hardly ever does radio), and praised Curry, saying he had a good chance to play in the NBA. Although Curry was playing well and turning heads, practically no one else was talking NBA potential. The kid was just too small. Davidson won that game.
Then the following season, in December, LeBron attended another Davidson game, this time at home. From Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer:
LeBron texted Curry and told him he might show up. But he has a routine that revolves around a pregame nap. Thirty minutes before tip-off LeBron decided to watch Curry, and somehow was able to find a courtside seat. LeBron cheered throughout and even leaned on officials, whom he had decided were pro-N.C. State and anti-Curry.
With 90 seconds remaining the Wildcats were up by a point. Curry, who at that juncture had scored 39, found Will Archambault alone in the left corner. Archambault’s shot hit nothing but air and the shot clock continued to run.
The Wildcats flung the ball around the perimeter and, because Davidson is a fine academic institution, got it to Curry. Curry had to get a shot up immediately. He took an awkward off-balance, high-arcing fadeaway that should not have gone in. It went in.
LeBron stood up, jumped up, took several steps and thrust both arms in the air. As Curry ran down the court he pointed at LeBron. Curry would finish with 44 points and his team would win by five.
The two share a bond to this day, and sometimes do charity and youth projects together. Of course you probably know that both were born in Akron, at the same hospital (although the Currys soon relocated to North Carolina). In August they'll likely be Olympic teammates.
Bruce McKillop, Davidson's coach, was asked who his LeBron was when he played. Charlotte Observer:
“Walt Frazier or Bill Bradley,” McKillop says about his hometown New York Knicks. “But they never went to my games.”
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