LeBron James and Steph Curry head into the 2015 NBA Finals as the two best. What makes these very different players both equally great?

By Robby Sabo

For the National Basketball Association, things couldn’t have shook out any rosier after a dreadful postseason.

Aside from the Los Angeles Clippers providing fans with two exciting series along the way (San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets), the 2015 NBA Playoffs has been just downright pathetic.

Compare the association to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in terms of excitement, and it’s a washout.

Luckily for Adam Silver and company, they have the here and now, the NBA Finals featuring LeBron James and Steph Curry.

Things couldn’t have been setup more perfectly for LeBron. Heroically he came back to his Cleveland Cavaliers and took them on a magic carpet ride to the finals during his return season.


Granted, the Eastern Conference is more of a joke than Rich Kotite as an NFL head coach, but he still managed to lead his ragtag group of misfits to the promised land. Even a season-ending injury to Kevin Love couldn’t derail LeBron’s quest.

His work in 2015 has elevated his legacy stock to an all-time high.

While 30-year old LeBron is working on his legacy, 27-year old Steph Curry just began his.

It’s amazing to think that this is already Curry’s sixth-season in the NBA, but it is. Perhaps it’s because not until this season have we truly allowed ourselves to realize the all-around brilliance this guy brings to the court each night.

Earning his first NBA MVP, Curry was the leader of the best squad in the association, averaging 23.8 points and 7.7 assists per game.

His phenomenal abilities travel way beyond his stats however.1nba2

Field goal percentage, a stat that is far too often overlooked in today’s game, is something the smallish Curry thrives on. His .487 mark from the field this year is one of the more astonishing stats we’ve witnessed in a while. That, and his remarkable .443 clip from downtown.

Marks like that, coming from a smaller 6-3 point guard are simply magnificent.

It’s what we’re used to from LeBron, as his career .496 field goal percentage, 27.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game tell his story for all-around basketball play.

The question for today is quite simple. How is it possible that both Curry and LeBron can be so dominant as all-around players while doing it in such contrasting styles?

Throughout the course of NBA Playoffs history, we’ve seen our fair share of matchups. Some, even, have been recurring ones.

Magic Johnson against Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain against Bill Russell, and Michael Jordan against Karl Malone are a few that come to mind. Never have we seen a matchup quite like this.

At this very moment, LeBron and Curry are the bonafide top two players in the game. There is no aging Tim Duncan or Kobe Brant; no injury prone Kevin Durant; nor is there the scoring demon (who can do very little else) in James Harden.

Both Curry and James do it all, yet very differently.

LeBron comes with power. Everything about the man is forceful and overpowering. When LeBron decides he’s going to take the ball to the hole, he does it in a way that only a handful of defenders would think about challenging.

LeBron’s scoring game is often defined on what he wants to do, not what the defense gives him. His basketball IQ is very different in nature, as in that regard he takes what the defense gives him both on defense and with distributing the ball, creating a positive environment around him.

Curry, on the other hand, defines the word grace on the basketball court.

He’s a master magician. While in one instant you may see him, one second later you might not.

His deception goes far beyond scoring. His dribbling, passing, IQ on the defensive end – it’s all just a compliment to the quickest release of the deadliest shot the NBA has seen in a long time.

Not only do their bodies and styles contrast on the court, but where they came from off the court also collide.

James was always the “chosen one.” He was the guy who didn’t need college, a larger than life character who’s body was always years ahead of his age.

Curry, on the other hand, needed time for his body to catch up to his basketball talents. Although he had the pedigree (Del Curry as a father), he was the guy who traveled to Davidson College, and waited his turn in the NCAA Tournament to finally make a name for himself.

On Thursday, both Curry and James will be playing ball their own way in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals.

While we watch them play in very contrasting styles, we’ll all realize they produce their own brand of all-around brilliance that lifts their respective teams to the highest of levels.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]