Three years ago, it was nearly impossible to turn on SportsCenter and avoid seeing some type of mention of LeBron James.
If LeBron’s name was mentioned, people were watching, no matter how dull or insignificant the story seemed.
I recall one specific occasion in 2013, during game six of the NBA Finals when LeBron and the Heat were playing the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat were down 3-2 in the series and 80-75 in the game with just nine minutes left to play.
As James went up to put-back a miss by teammate Mario Chalmers, the unthinkable happened. As he elevated above the rim, Spurs center Tim Duncan knocked the headband off James’ head. The crazy part about it all? HE DIDN’T EVEN PUT IT BACK ON.
The Heat went on to win the game as LeBron finished out the contest sans-headband. The next day, instead of featuring the upcoming game seven of the NBA Finals between the two best teams in the league, the focus of the media was on whether or not LeBron would wear a headband in the game.
An elastic piece of cotton with a Nike swoosh on it received more coverage than the biggest game of the NBA season.
When LeBron left Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010, thousands of fans disowned their hero and burned his jerseys in the streets.
When he decided to return to Cleveland after winning two NBA titles with the Heat, fans who had once defaced and denounced their faith to LeBron came crawling back to his feet and kissing his size 15 Nikes. LeBron was larger than life, but those times have changed.
In walks Steph Curry, a 6-foot-3-inch, 185-pound anomaly.
Curry, an Akron, Ohio native like James, brought a different skillset to the league than LeBron. LeBron was just a 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound freak athlete who could jump out of the gym and use his physicality to dominate the league. If you put a guard on him, he’d post him up and dominate, if you put a forward or a center on him, he would show off his athleticism and leave the defender looking foolish.
Curry, on the other hand, uses quickness, unbelievable handles and the best shot in the history of basketball to beat his opponents. Every time Curry takes the court, fans expect to see a show and more often than not, Curry shows out.
Curry, the 2015 NBA MVP has already set the record for most three-pointers made in a season two times, and is on pace to surpass his own record for the third time this season. He has made 44.3 percent of the threes that he’s shot in the NBA. He has completely revolutionized the game of basketball.
The NBA three-point line is 22 feet and 1.75 inches from the basket, but Curry likes to stretch the floor a little bit. “Chef” Curry also makes some of the deepest threes in the NBA and he makes them often. According to data gathered by Benjamin Morris of FiveThirtyEight, in the 2015-2016 season, Curry is shooting 43 percent from 26-28 feet and 42 percent from shots ranging from 28-42 feet. To put that in perspective, an NBA court is 94 feet in length from baseline to baseline.
In the 2015-2016 season, Curry ranks No. 2 in the NBA in free-throw percentage while Lebron ranks 101st. Curry is No. 4 in the NBA in three-point percentage, LeBron is 105th. Curry is the leading scorer in the NBA, while LeBron is fifth. Curry is No. 11 in assists while LeBron is slightly behind at No. 12. Curry also ranks No. 4 in the league in steals while LeBron is 27th.
Curry does this all while averaging less time on the floor per game than LeBron.
Curry and the Warriors also downed LeBron and the Cavs last year in the NBA Finals, possibly the last piece of the puzzle needed in Curry’s overtaking of the NBA spotlight. Although LeBron put up ridiculous numbers in the Finals, Golden State’s “baby-faced assassin” overshadowed him.
It also doesn’t hurt that Curry and the Warriors are currently 43-4 on the season and are on pace to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 mark for the best record in NBA history.
Long story short, Steph Curry is ridiculous and hands down the most exciting player to watch in the NBA.
Move aside King James, it’s Curry’s time now.