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A word cloud to describe the feelings of NBA fans treated to another playoff series between LeBron James and Stephen Curry (and the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors) might look something like this:

Stunned. Speechless. Ecstatic. Privileged. Nostalgic. Hyped. Over the moon. Lucky. Curious.  

I don't know about you, but two all-time greats locking horns while still capable of destroying anyone in their path gets me pumped as an NBA fan. Both have accomplished so much, and yet still somehow have the opportunity and capability to achieve so much more.

LeBron is one of the two best players in NBA history and at 38 he can still get downhill like a locomotive or defy the laws of gravity, when needed. I'm still in awe of his overtime-forcing layup over Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. against Memphis in Game 4 of the first round. 

Curry is the greatest shooter ever, rising in the NBA's all-time great debate and is coming off posting the only 50-point performance in a Game 7 in the history of the league. He's 35, and can still launch logo shots, stepback threes and put on a show with the best of them.

It all sets up what will be the most decorated matchup between any two players in NBA postseason history. I'm talking about two superstars with incredible trophy cases, two icons of the game.

Sure, 1960s Wilt Chamberlain versus Bill Russell must have been incredible. Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson squared off in the 1972 postseason. The 1987 Finals featured Larry Bird and Magic Johnson both going for a fourth ring. Michael Jordan versus Karl Malone and John Stockton in the 1997 and 1998 Finals fits the bill. We also saw Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant each face Tim Duncan late in their careers. And of course, LeBron against Curry and Kevin Durant in the 2017 and 2018 Finals.

But none of that is quite like LeBron versus Steph in 2023. And I don't think I'm being a prisoner of the moment. Need more proof? Here are 10 reasons why this is the most decorated playoff matchup ever.

1. The Mount Rushmore angle

There are only four players in NBA history with at least four championships, two NBA MVPs and one scoring title. LeBron James. Stephen Curry. Michael Jordan. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So it may not be the NBA Mount Rushmore, but it's pretty darn close. And this is the first time that any combo of players with these trophy cases will be going head-to-head. 

2. It's GOAT (all-around player) vs. GOAT (shooter)

LeBron James is the only player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists. In terms of all-around ability, LeBron is one-of-one. Curry broke the all-time record for three pointers made at age 33 and he's still dropping them from downtown, Fisherman's Wharf, heck, whatever part of San Francisco you like. Seriously though, he is credited as one of the most revolutionary players in league history.

3. Veteran players with new(ish) titles

This will be only the third matchup between the all-time scoring leader (a title LeBron gained in February) and the 3-point leader (a title Steph gained in December 2021). So, yeah, it's really, really rare. The only two previous instances came in the 1987 NBA Finals when Kareem Abdul-Jabber (points) beat Larry Bird (3s), and a 1989 Western Conference semis series when Abdul-Jabbar (points) beat Dale Ellis' (3s) SuperSonics.

4. Familiar, yet unfamiliar territory

If you've been an NBA fan for most of the last 10 years, this whole LeBron versus Steph thing isn't exactly new to you. But all of their previous meetings took place while LeBron played for the Eastern Conference Cleveland Cavaliers. You might recall the Cavs and Warriors met in four straight NBA Finals, from 2015 to 2018. But since LeBron joined the Lakers in 2019, this is the first season in which both the Lakers and Warriors have reached the playoffs. (And, if you need a reminder, Curry holds the series advantage, 3-1.)

5. A fifth ring and the GOAT debate

Curry's 50-point game on Sunday was generating a lot of buzz in the GOAT debate, in terms of point guards (with Magic Johnson) and all-time greats. But imagine what a fifth ring would mean. Either player, should they get that far, would match the ring total of Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant -- though still one behind Michael Jordan. (No judgement, just facts.) For LeBron, a fifth ring (and fifth Finals MVP) could sway a lot of people in the Jordan-LeBron GOAT debate.

6. 60,364 points ... from just two players

Just in terms of pure regular-season scoring, this James-Curry tandem is nearly unmatched. As opponents they've combined for 60,364 points, which is the second-most by any two foes in NBA playoff history. The only opposing duo with more points scored between them would be LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, when the latter was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. The teams met in the first round of the 2020 postseason, en route to Lakers' last title. 

7. Thirtysomethings going for 50

LeBron and Steph are two of the seven oldest players in playoff history to author a 50-point game. It's been a minute, but LeBron scored 50 in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Curry, of course, scored 50 on Sunday. Maybe you've heard.

8. June plans?

To the casual observer, it would seem like The Association cannot even have an NBA Finals without a LeBron James or Steph Curry being on the floor. At least one of these two stars has made it to the championship series in 11 of the previous 12 seasons. (The 2021 Bucks-Suns matchup was the one exception.) LeBron and Steph have combined to win two of the last three titles, along with the corresponding Finals MVP awards. And they were two of the six oldest players to win said award. The way things are trending, you shouldn't be surprised by either player winds up carrying his team to another Finals next month.

9. Still writing, er, re-writing the record books

It's LeBron's 20th season and Curry's 14th and they are still doing things they've never done before. In Game 4 against the Grizzlies, LeBron posted his first career 20-rebound game, regular season or playoffs. His game-tying layup over the Defensive Player of the Year, Jaren Jackson Jr., at age 38, was one of the most impressive moments of his playoff career. Last Sunday, the NBA's 146th Game 7 took place, and Curry's 50-point performance was the first in such a winner-take-all contest.

10. Oh, baby...

You can't make this stuff up. There are over 6,000 hospitals in the United States and somehow two of the greatest players in NBA history were born in the same one -- Akron General Medical Center ... If you don't agree this is the most decorated playoff matchup between two players in NBA history, perhaps we can all agree it's the most decorated between two NBA players born in the same hospital.