LeBron James and Stephen Curry have met a staggering 37 times as opponents in the NBA. Of those 37 games, 22 have taken place in the NBA Finals, where they have fought four times, and 15 have been in the regular season. This is something common among perhs the two best players of a given generation, but here’s something that is not: coming in on Sunday, James and Curry had never played a single game as teammates at any level.
James has sought out a number of star mates in free agency and trades, but he and Curry never united in the NBA. They played at opposing conferences for most of their careers, so until 2018, collaborating in the All-Star Game was not out of the question. Even in the first game of the All-Star Draft era, Curry and James were opponents. Giannis Antetokunmpo selected Curry in 2019, and Curry was injured in 2020. Both have played for Team USA on several occasions, but they have never overlapped. Probably enough, the two best players in this era of NBA basketball almost managed to go an entire career without ever playing together in any capacity.
That finally changed on Sunday. James selected Curry in Thursday’s All-Star Draft, and the two started together on the winning team in Sunday’s match. Curry shone with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, while James played just under 13 minutes in the win. Still, he was sure to tell Curry and the world how much he enjoyed their first-time partnership.
Curry returned the favor and tweeted his enjoyment in response.
For those wondering about the manipulative implications of these tweets, you can be sure that a real NBA partnership between the two is still very unlikely. Curry is a free agent after the 2021-22 season, but the Lakers are likely to be cped out with more players due to new contracts this offseason. Although Golden State was open to hearing trade deals (which they will not be), the Lakers spent most of their assets acquiring Anthony Davis in 2019. James is under contract until 2023. Golden State still pays big salaries to Klay Thompson and Draymond Green at the time, so it’s probably not possible to keep enough room for Curry and James beyond that. James has expressed interest in playing with the team that pulls his son Bronny when this contract expires, however, so Perh’s Golden State could lure him that way.
Even if they do not, the basketball world deserved to see James and Curry share the floor as teammates at least once. The two Akron-born superstars will be tied together forever for their final fights and influence in the NBA. Even if it was only in the All-Star Game, millions of basketball fans had to check out the James-Curry partnership from their forest lists on Sunday. Curry’s performance alone made it worth the wait.