Steph Curry

Why LeBron believes Steph, AI most ‘influential' NBA players

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While he is regarded by many to be the best player of his generation, LeBron James believes that Steph Curry has influenced the game of basketball the most.

Speaking to JJ Redick on their new podcast, "Mind the Game," James explained that ever since Curry entered the NBA, the game has changed.

While discussing why you can't pull starters in the fourth quarter anymore, James credited Curry for the change in the NBA where no lead is safe.

“You can’t do that anymore and you know why?” James said. “Whenever that little lightskinned f-er came into the league that’s in Golden State, he changed that whole narrative. He single-handedly changed the ‘no lead is safe’ [paradigm]. It’s like Pat Mahomes right now. Love that guy, I love Steph.”

James' praise of Curry didn't stop there, with the NBA's all-time scoring leader saying that the Warriors superstar and Allen Iverson are the two most influential players since he's been watching basketball.

“When it comes to influence, since I’ve been watching the game, [the players with] the most influence on the game, Steph and Allen Iverson are the two biggest influential guys in our game,” James told Redick.

“One, they’re 6’3 … Allen Iverson and Steph, they were just so relatable, and kids felt like they could be them, they were guys that were not always counted on, they were small in stature, and they just defied the odds.

“So, you got AI who’s like, unbelievable crossover, cornrows, arm sleeves, everyone wears arm sleeves now because of Allen Iverson, and he’s going into the trenches, laying it up over bigs, whatever the case may be. And now you have Steph, who’s shooting over the Empire State Building."

While James and Curry were rivals during the four consecutive seasons their teams met in the NBA finals from 2015 to 2018, the 39-year-old has nothing but respect for the Warriors' point guard. 

Before Curry’s entrance into the league, the 3-point shot was seen as more of a novelty and not a crucial aspect of the offense. However, once the Warriors began dominating the league with their barrage of long-range shots, the rest of the league followed suit.

In Curry’s first season in the league in the 2009-10 NBA season, teams averaged 18.1 three-point attempts per game and by the 2021-22 season, the average increased to 35.2 attempts per game. 

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