Steph Curry and Chris Paul have had their battles over the years. Since Paul joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011 through the point guard's time with the Houston Rockets, the two elite guards have spent the last decade dueling on the NBA's big stage.
While Curry and Paul are seen as rivals on the court, the now-Phoenix Suns point guard has always respected Curry's game. In fact, Curry had Paul's respect before he ever logged an NBA minute.
And the respect only has grown with Curry's meteoric rise.
"What's crazy is we don't think of ourselves as old, and Steph is a grown man in his own right," Paul told NBC Sports Bay Area's Dorell Wright in an interview that will air Thursday on "Warriors Pregame Live" at 6 p.m.
"But I do a point guard, an elite camp, every summer. Steph came to camp, right. So a lot of people don't know before Steph's rookie year he came on a family trip with my whole family. We went to Orlando like I went to take my kids to Disney World. Steph came with us and we worked out and we trained. Our families knew each other. I was with Octagon, we were the same agency. Steph and I have the same financial advisor. I have known Steph forever.
"When he came into the league he had my respect because we had spent that real time together training and working out. And Steph just kept getting nicer and nicer and nicer. Like I said, he had my respect. But when I played for the Clippers and once we got into the playoff series, it just slowly started building. ... But man, Steph been nice. It was just a matter of time for them to put in the system that was for him. The rest is history."
Paul and the Clippers defeated Curry and the Warriors in a seven-game slugfest in the 2014 NBA playoffs, but Curry got the last laugh as the Warriors eliminated Paul, James Harden and the Rockets in the 2018 Western Conference finals and 2019 West semis. Paul's hamstring injury at the end of Game 5 of the 2018 West finals changed the course of the series, as the Rockets lost Game 6 and Game 7 without Paul, squandering a three-games-to-two series lead.
Curry and Paul will renew their rivalry Thursday night when the Warriors (10-8) take on the Suns (8-8) at Phoenix Suns Arena.
The Warriors have had an up-and-down start to the season as Curry learns to play with a new supporting cast while Klay Thompson rehabs his torn Achilles. Paul has had an immediate impact on the Suns, and many expect Phoenix to be one of the top teams to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers atop the Western Conference come playoff time.
While the Warriors and Suns still are in the early stages of discovering their identity, it won't be surprising if Curry and Paul renew their rivalry again come playoff time.