Steph Curry

Stephen A explains why Steph's NBA legacy differs from LeBron, KD's

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The wheels appear to be falling off for NBA superstars Steph Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant following early exits from the postseason.

Their basketball legacies, however, already are well established given what each star has accomplished during their respective careers. But to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Curry's differs from James' and Durant's for one distinct reason.

While James often has been compared and contrasted to Michael Jordan as the never-ending GOAT debate continues, Smith believes Jordan's legacy actually compares the most to Curry's.

"No one player does it by himself. Yes, Scottie Pippen, we heard you. We know you helped Michael Jordan, you're one of the all-time greats. But Jordan was on another level," Smith said Tuesday on "First Take." "The will, the defiance came with it, so the effect he had on a culture is what we are complimentary about with Micahel Jordan. That's not what LeBron James did. That's not what Kevin Durant did.

"So when we talk about how great they were as players -- well LeBron had to go to Miami to get the title. And then LeBron went back to Cleveland and join Kyrie [Irving] and get Kevin Love from Minnesota in order to win in Cleveland. And LeBron had to get [Anthony Davis] before he won the title in LA.

"Jordan stayed. Steph Curry stayed. They built around Jordan, they built around Steph Curry. That wasn't the case with LeBron and KD. So we have to look at those situations differently. We can lump them all into the sentence for a question, but their careers, the way it's traveled, was different for the three."

James was drafted by his hometown team in 2003 and played with the Cavaliers for the first seven seasons of his career before heading to South Beach to team up with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat, where he won his first two NBA championships.

After four seasons with Miami, James went back to Cleveland and won another title during the 2015-16 season. Three years later, he was in Los Angeles as a Laker, where he won his fourth and most recent ring during the shortened 2019-20 season. He hasn't won since.

Meanwhile, Durant didn't win his first NBA championship until the controversial move to Golden State in his 10th NBA season, where he teamed up with Steph Curry and the Warriors' already-ruling Big Three.

He won his second ring the following season and, after leaving Golden State to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn with the Nets and then Devin Booker in Phoenix with the Suns, has yet to win another title or even come close.

Then there's Curry, the only star of the trio who remains with the team that drafted him. His loyalty and patience paid off, allowing former Warriors general manager Bob Myers to work his magic and put the proper pieces around Curry to help the team win four championships in eight seasons.

Nonetheless, each basketball icon, regardless of their pathway through the NBA, has made a name for themselves as future Hall of Famers.

Their legacies and how they're remembered, though, is a different story.

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