After Stephen Curry unanimously won his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award, LeBron James said that the Golden State Warriors superstar "definitely deserved it." James qualified his answer, though, by saying that "most valuable" is different than "best player." When the comments were relayed to Curry, he said he had "gotten good at ignoring people." On Wednesday, as James' Cleveland Cavaliers got ready to face the Warriors in the NBA Finals, James was asked about that back-and-forth and whether or not he and Curry had become rivals.
"First of all, I made the mistake by even answering the question because I knew where it was going to go, and I guarantee how it was phrased to Steph wasn't how I answered the question," James said. "So obviously his reaction was what it was. And I've been there before as well. So Steph was definitely the MVP of our league and is the MVP in our league and is a great basketball player, and what he does for this league is amazing. Then the question was asked if I had a vote what would the difference be between most valuable and MVP, and I gave my opinion. So obviously you guys ran with it.
"But I don't know," James continued. "You guys make rivals. I mean, I think it's great for the sport. It's great for all sports. I don't think me and Steph -- when you talk about rivalries, you talk about Carolina-Duke, you talk about Ohio State-Michigan. It's hard to say LeBron and Steph. If there's a smaller scale or another word for a rival. The fact that we're going back-to-back I think is pretty unique. It's pretty unique to be in this position and just to have another opportunity, another opportunity for guys to write about it, for us to play it, for the people to talk about it throughout the world. I'm blessed that I can be a part of conversations."
James made it clear that he is not a Curry hater, and it's a little ridiculous that he even has to explain himself. Curry was not disrespecting James, either, when he said -- in the summer of 2014, before his MVPs or his championship -- that he is the better offensive player of the two.
Remember, James said this time last year that it's impossible to slow down Curry. In March, James said that "it sucks" that retired players feel the need to denigrate Curry by saying he wouldn't be able to do the things he's doing in other eras. And just a few days ago, James called Curry and Klay Thompson "probably the two greatest shooters that we've probably ever seen." These are not the words of a man who underestimates Curry's greatness.
The NBA Finals begin on Thursday, and this year's matchup features the two biggest names in the sport, with (healthy!) stars supporting them. That should be enough of a draw for anyone even casually interested in basketball -- there is no need to pretend these guys have any animosity toward each other.