Steph Curry

Steph, LeBron together in Olympics is perfect passing of Team USA torch

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Steph Curry and LeBron James have worn the same threads five times together as NBA All-Star Game teammates representing the Western Conference. Curry did win his only All-Star Game MVP in one of those instances (2022), but the players treat the final score like a training camp scrimmage. 

This time the stakes are higher, going for bragging rights on basketball’s global stage.

The Warriors sniffed around at the idea of pairing Curry and James on Golden State at this past season’s trade deadline. Now as the head coach of Team USA at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, Steve Kerr already is envisioning the two running their own clinic against the world’s best competition. 

Imagine either one pushing the ball for a fastbreak. LeBron finding Steph for a 3-pointer to go up by 30, and Curry turning to jog back on defense mid-way through its flight. There surely will be a time where Curry hits James in stride for a hammer dunk that defies age and athleticism. 

Basketball euphoria for a coach to enjoy the view. Kerr already has watched this movie in his head. 

“I've talked to both of them about this idea of being together after going against one another with such high stakes over the years,” Kerr said during a recent Zoom with media members. “They obviously fit really well together. I think the idea of Steph playing off the ball and LeBron pushing it in transition, that's pretty intriguing. 

“Obviously Steph will play on the ball as well. And LeBron has become such a good shooter. But they're both so good at so many different areas of the game.”

Kerr is leading Team USA one last time and won’t have to wait much longer to see his vision become the real thing. He and his coaching staff fly into Las Vegas on Wednesday to prepare for Team USA’s training camp before their first exhibition game. Players are arriving Friday night for four days of practice beginning Saturday at the Mendenhall Center on UNLV’s campus. 

They then play a strong Team Canada on June 10 at T-Mobile Arena to prep for Paris. 

In an offseason where Curry is going into his 16th season with the Warriors and James is entering an unprecedented 22nd NBA season, they already have played against each other 52 times – 28 playoffs games, 23 regular-season games and once in the play-in tournament. Curry has the upper hand, having a 29-23 record against James, as well as three titles to LeBron’s one when facing one another.

The two haven’t been seen as historic rivals like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird despite their many battles. Their relationship and friendship has grown as their lives have developed from superstar basketball players to creating entities that extend well beyond the sport. Curry and James both are single-name brands whose influence is worldwide. 

Steph and LeBron stood at the center of the ring for the NBA’s championship belt in four consecutive seasons. They’ve been the two faces of basketball for a generation and both should find their way onto the game’s Mount Rushmore one day. 

“I think they're really excited to compete together for the first time and to have to find over the course of the practices and the friendlies some of the nuances that they can really exploit and explore too, just to see where they can have an impact for each other,” Kerr said. “They're both really, really excited about the idea of competing together.”

Between Team USA teammates like Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum and the rest of the roster, a wave of stars are taking center stage right now. It’s only right Curry, in his first Olympics, and James, in his fourth, will have a chance at gold together. Kerr can’t wait to start the show.

Then, the torch can begin to be passed. 

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