As the NBA All-Star break is officially underway, there’s no better time to lay down a story, especially if it’s amongst the league’s brightest stars.
“I don’t have a rivalry with Steph Curry,” James said after Saturday’s All-Star practice session. “There’s no way you can say, ‘Let’s talk about rivalries,’ and you say, ‘Bird and Magic. Carolina, Duke. Ohio State, Michigan,’ and then say ‘LeBron and Steph.’
“It’s disrespectful to those other three that I just named that you would even try to put us in the class with that. We haven’t had enough battles, and who’s to say we will have future battles. We’ll see, but to put us in a category with [them], it’s impossible. You can’t do it.”
James certainly has a strong point, and it’d be foolish for me to disagree. As one of his examples, Bird and Johnson had a strong pulse from not just between themselves, but their teams (Indiana and Michigan, then Boston and Los Angeles), their teammates, and as well as their fans.
There’s vast reasons why James having a rivalry with Curry isn’t really legit.
For one, there’s no form of similarities between the two multiple-time MVP winners. Even though they’re right atop from the league’s best players, the comparison isn’t — well, comparable.
James — of course — is one of the most accomplished athletes in recent memory, and it’s not just in basketball. As a player who’s already cemented his legacy as not just one of the greatest Small Forwards to ever step foot in the NBA, but as well as a top-three talent that we might ever see again.
You just cannot compare James’ resume to what Curry has done — and it’s no form of disrespect either.
If we wanted to draw-up a better “rivalry” for today’s NBA that would interest further than “Lebron versus Steph,” would certainly be “Kyrie Irving versus Steph” or “Russell Westbrook versus Steph.” Because Curry can at least matchup with them better than he can with James.
Theres three simple aspects in my book that must take effect, in order to call two individuals “a rivalry.”
- Each player must be near the same age, and must have similar games and play-styles. They don’t neccesarily have to play the same position.
- Each player’s respective teams that must meet each other in the Finals for at least three-to-five times. The same applies for any teams in the Conference Finals.
- Accolades and achievements must show some sort of coherence.
Even though James and Curry aren’t currently a rivalry, it will certainly be handed down from generation-to-generation of what greatness truly means in basketball. The 2015 and 2016 NBA Finals were the epidemics of why this has become such an interesting sport to watch.
The Cavaliers and Warriors continue to sit atop of their respective conferences for the third consecutive season. Although it’s no guarantee that they’re expected to meet in this year’s Finals, but the unthinkable would have to happen, in order to alter that prediction.
And for the record, there’s no “player-to-player” rivalry between these teams. Just the teams themselves.