When it comes to NBA titles in head-to-head matchups, here is the score between Steph Curry and LeBron James:
Steph 3, LeBron 1.
When LeBron went back to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, he did not think his Cavaliers would end up facing Steph's Warriors in the NBA Finals for four straight years.
The four-time NBA MVP had no clue Curry would rise to the prominence he attained.
On the most recent episode of "The Book of Basketball 2.0" podcast, The Ringer's Bill Simmons and ESPN's Brian Windhorst had an exchange that certainly will be of interest to basketball fans everywhere:
Simmons: "We know this -- I'm not sure the average human being knows this -- but the LeBron-Curry thing is pretty real."
Windhorst: "Oh yeah."
Simmons: "It is not friendly. I think LeBron really has genuine disdain for him. And I think Curry's kind of like, 'F--k you, I've won as many titles as you have.' And you could feel it festering in this 2016 (Finals) because there's this underlying current of LeBron has gone back to Cleveland, the King is back, and then Curry comes in and kind of grabs the crown a little bit.
"And more importantly I think to LeBron ... became really popular."
Windhorst: "I don't know if the word jealous is fair because I don't think LeBron is jealous of anybody. But he didn't think it was fair. He's like, 'What about me?'"
Curry's popularity certainly is real. Steph had the No. 1 selling jersey for three straight years from 2016 to 2018 (LeBron was No. 2), and received more All-Star votes than LeBron in 2015 and 2016.
Additionally, Curry became the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2016. In the eyes of many, the "Baby-Faced Assassin" had supplanted LeBron as the face of the NBA.
For further context and evidence, don't forget about the conversation Curry and Simmons had back in August 2018:
Simmons: "I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."
Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.
"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."
Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."
Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."
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