In the midst of Cleveland’s historic NBA Finals rally from a 3-1 deficit against Golden State in 2016, this happened in Game 6:
An uncharacteristic moment of trash talk from LeBron to the 2-time MVP, Stephen Curry. Friends talk trash all the time, and make no mistake, LeBron and Curry were friends. Their friendship dates all the way back to when Curry played at Davidson. Remember this moment?
But that’s not all. Russell Westbrook laughed about a Curry question regarding Curry’s defense during the NBA playoffs last year:
There’s a new book out that answers a puzzling question: Stephen Curry has been the most popular player in the NBA for two years now, by any metric you’d like – jersey sales, TV ratings, adoration from fans and the media – but why do some of the NBA’s biggest stars have disdain for the Warriors point guard?
I had Marcus Thompson, the author of The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry, on my radio show over the weekend, and here’s what he said (4:45 mark) about LeBron’s block and trash talk:
Curry takes pride in welcoming all that. some players might say, ‘LeBron shouldn’t have done that’ … Steph is the type to take pride in being the guy who doesn’t complain. He wants you to say, at the end of his career, I never got involved with all that.
There’s a thing with he and LeBron that’s a little weird. There was a time when LeBron and Steph were big brother and little brother and LeBron was like a mentor.
He was a big fan of Steph, went to games at Davison, and even when [Curry] got to the NBA, they had moments where LeBron was looking at him like, ‘wow’ and then Steph kind of challenged LeBron’s status. The part that’s odd for Steph – why does that mean there has to be beef between us? He loves LeBron and respects LeBron, and he’s like, ‘because the outside world is pitting us together, why do you and I have to now have this disdain between us, I thought we were cool? … that’s the question that’s in Curry’s mind and Curry’s camp. Why do you not like me when all I did was basically respect everything you did, and follow the model you carried out? … it’s not just with LeBron … Steph wants to be accepted by all these guys. this is what he worked for. For [them] to say, ‘you’re one of us.’ It seems like they don’t want to give that to him.
Q: Why not? What more does Curry need to accomplish?
Generally, I think it was all so sudden. [Curry] leapfrogged a whole lot of people. There’s a whole lot of people who never got the adoration Steph gets … they don’t like that. Players who were probably Hall of Famers [were saying] ‘nobody ever anointed me like this.’
Q: Which players, specifically, feel this way?
Everybody on the Clippers … Chris Paul was one of those guys. Chris Paul was somebody [Curry] looked up to. Chris Paul used to dominate that matchup. Chris Paul was supposed to be next in line to win a championship. Then, suddenly, it was Steph … that’s another relationship where [Curry] was like, ‘oh, I look up to you,’ and suddenly there is this disdain vs Steph. There’s a lot of those …
Another word for disdain here? Jealousy. The radio interview gets to the point where Thompson says Westbrook simply doesn’t like Curry.
Here’s hoping the Warriors and Thunder meet in the Western Conference Finals.