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LeBron James on Stephen Curry: ‘Don’t be fooled by that smile’

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LeBron James and Stephen Curry went head-to-head in consecutive NBA Finals to establish the latest great championship rivalry in sports. The two superstars obviously have gotten to know each other quite well during those contentious series — with each one of course once earning bragging rights over the other — and James had a word of warning about underestimating the Golden State Warriors sharpshooter.

The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar was making an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” when he made the following observation about Curry when asked by DeGeneres if he knew his rival well.

“He’s a great guy. And he’s a fierce competitor, I’ll tell you that,” James told the host, via Dime Mag. “Don’t be fooled by that smile when he come up here. If you play basketball or golf, he’ll take it from you.”

James is without question one of the fiercest competitors in basketball. But he rightly points out that just because Curry has a “Nice Guy” label doesn’t mean his competitive fire doesn’t burn as white-hot.

What both James and Curry bring to the court in those respects gave rise to a handful of combustible moments during the most recent NBA Finals, including this contentious exchange in Game 4:

More jawing and the like in this manner occurred in the following three games, which the Cavaliers won to storm back from a 3-1 series deficit to claim their NBA title.

Even the biggest and most heated rivalries in sports usually involve some modicum of mutual respect, as is the case with James and Curry. In fact, James praised Curry for being born in his hometown, something that became the source of a promotion during the Finals.

“For me, I think the best thing is that we’re two of the most talked about athletes in the world,” James began. “And we were both born in Akron, Ohio, so that means a lot to me.”

Indeed.