The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers are set to face off in the 2023 NBA playoffs, pitting point guard Stephen Curry and forward LeBron James against each other once again. Curry and James have matched up four times in the NBA Finals and once in the play-in tournament. The Warriors guard holds a 3-1 edge in the Finals, but James won the play-in game on late triple. Both have four titles overall and will now be in each other’s ways as they try to build their legacies.
Here’s a look at how the DK Nation staff views Curry and James ahead of the matchup.
Chinmay Vaidya, Sports Editor
The contrast between these stars is going to be awesome to see play out in a best-of-7 series. Curry is the undersized, unheralded point guard from a small college who shot his way into record books and NBA championships, while James has always been the “can’t miss” prospect who jumped to the pros straight from high school and immediately started dominating. The Warriors guard relies on the triple, while James is a physical specimen who often can bully his way to the hoop at will.
There’s one other big difference between the stars. Curry has stayed with one franchise his entire career and built it from the ground up, while James has wielded his influence across several organizations and found the mountain top with each one. Some might consider the first approach to be more honorable but when titles are what ultimately count, the journey might not matter. Each player has accomplished tremendous things in different ways, which makes this matchup that much more enticing. Curry and James are standing in each other’s ways towards what would be the tie-breaking fifth title, trying to add the final touches to their Hall of Fame careers.
Gabriel Santiago, DK Nation Newsdesk
When it comes to Steph vs. LeBron, it can be incredibly difficult to compare the skillsets of the two global superstars. James, who is in his 20th NBA season, has collected a total of four championships with three different teams. Many consider James to be God’s gift to basketball and that is not a stretch when you consider his size, athleticism, skill and on-court IQ. I have always thought James to be a more athletic version of Magic Johnson, perhaps not all the way boasting the vision that Magic had. On the other side, Curry looks more like a normal civilian than a world class athlete. Still, through 14 years in the league, Curry’s unrivaled marksmanship has turned the NBA on its head. What goes unnoticed, however, are his improvements rebounding and on the defensive end. Additionally, Curry has become a consistent finisher at the rim. All that said, both James and Curry deserve a pat on the back for always conducting themselves in a respectable manner, both on and off the hardwood.
Spencer Limbach, DK Nation Newsdesk
Let’s face it: LeBron James has had the better overall career than Stephen Curry. It’s just facts. Yes, James has been in the league for six more seasons, but he still has 10 more All-Star selections, 10 more All-NBA teams, two more MVP awards, and three more Finals MVP awards than Curry. However, the Golden State point guard could pass him in one crucial stat this postseason: NBA championships won. The two legends both have four rings, so whoever gets the next one has the advantage in this head-to-head resume. For some people, that would be enough to consider Curry the superior option if he can lead the Warriors to another title.
Henry Palattella, DK Nation Newsdesk
My relationship with LeBron James and Stephen Curry is an interesting one. As a Cleveland resident (and lifelong Cavaliers fan), I still get PTSD whenever I see Curry rise up to shoot one of his 30-foot daggers that comes complete with a Mike Breen “bang.” But now, as James has drifted away from Cleveland and Curry has moved into a new stage of his career, my feelings have shifted, so much so that I even found myself mildly cheering for the Warriors last June in the Finals. While this matchup won’t be at the same level of the epic battles in the mid 2010s, I think this year’s playoff matchup between the two is just as, if not more, important as their battles at the height of their powers. They’re two transcendent players who have forever changed the game and this series will be an example of that, as they’ll likely have moments where they cede the spotlight to a teammate who grew up watching them. Sometimes, we as sports fans have a hard time appreciating greatness in real time; I hope that doesn’t happen with this series.