LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers will take on Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors on opening night of the 2022-23 NBA season.
While both teams have rosters full of all-star players who have made it to all NBA teams on multiple occasions, the narrative for the night is set by a different fight.
Curry made a statement last season with the title and Finals MVP award wins. This was also the season in which he became the best three-point shooter in NBA history.
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Kevin Durant left the company in 2019. Several players were injured in the following seasons, including Curry. Warriors ended the 2020 season in last place. But Curry defied it all. He stood by when the team was rebuilt and the 2022 season brought the reward.
The fourth ring put Curry level with LeBron, who is also navigating a turbulent tide.
Time seems to have caught up with LeBron since he brought the NBA title to Los Angeles in 2020, the first Lakers in 10 years. Perhaps even the king cannot cheat it.
Injuries have meant he only played 45 and 56 games in the last two seasons. That’s not much considering the 1.80m Marauder played 70 games a year.
Plus, it was a case of everything that could go wrong that could go wrong for LeBron and his Lakers squad. Anthony Davis faced a similar fate to LeBron, suffering a season-ending injury in 2021.
This meant LeBron’s hand-picked roster, consisting of Russell Westbrook, Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, could not be fired last season.
Lakers have still shown confidence. A two-year, $97 million offseason extension for LeBron means “King James” will be back in charge of the team.
With four titles each, Curry and LeBron will head out at the Chase Center Tuesday night to set par with Kobe Bryant, who has won five titles.
Although LeBron loyalists could rush in to claim the supremacy of his titles over Curry’s, the current race between them cannot be denied their share of the spotlight as LeBron wanted to play with Curry.
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“Steph Curry is the one I want to play with in today’s game,” LeBron said in a 2021 interview. What would make LeBron say that?
One of the highlights of the 2010 NBA years was the NBA Finals rivalry between Curry and LeBron. LeBron, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, faced Steph Curry in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Finals, who was just building his empire with the dubs.
Warriors won three of them, while LeBron took home the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2016 – the famous 3-1 comeback.
The two got nostalgia in 2021 when the Warriors and Lakers went head-to-head in the play-in tournament. With both teams needing a win to qualify, LeBron made a slamming dagger to lead the Lakers to the playoffs. The handshake between the two after the game showed mutual respect and admiration.
READ: Golden State Warriors trades, roster likely to start at 5 for 2022-23 season
In the 2022/23 season, both teams have squads that can fight for the title. While the Warriors have a stable and established lineup under coach Steve Kerr after winning their fourth title, the Lakers have a fresh look. The constants of 2021 and even the 2010s are the men leading the charge.
While the outcome of the race could be decided this year or next, or perhaps never unless both win a fifth title, the anticipation and dedication makes for a swashbuckling spectacle.