Fun Fact of the Day: This is LeBron James’s 6th consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, tying the longest streak held by the Boston Celtics dynasty in the 1960s. LeBron has made 7 NBA finals trips total, including 1 visit for the Cavs back in 2007.
Strength in numbers, indeed. Last night, the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 to take home Game 1 of the NBA Finals rematch. The Warriors bench was the star of the show, with Shaun Livingston scoring a personal postseason best of 20 points. Meanwhile the “Splash Brothers” Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were ice cold scoring only 20 points together and shooting at 30% from the field. This isn’t the best news for Cavs fans, who were hoping that a healthy big 3 (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love) would make all the difference in helping them win this year’s championship. Last night’s game also featured another groin hit and Warriors coach Steve Kerr karate chopping his clipboard.
Float like a butterfly… Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is currently being treated for an undisclosed respiratory issue. He has been fighting Parkinson’s disease since 1984 and has been hospitalized over the past couple of years with various ailments including pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. You know him for his famous battles against rivals Joe Frazier and George Foreman, humanitarian efforts, deeply held religious beliefs, and way with words.
Spotlight on LeBron v. Steph
The media has been trying to pit LeBron James and Steph Curry against each other all week, so we thought we’d take the bait. Here’s a spotlight on what makes these 2 players so great, so you can join any LeBron v. Steph debate at the bar this weekend.
The case for King James.
A basketball prodigy. LeBron is a physical beast, standing at a solid 6’8”, 250 lbs. He’s extremely versatile on the court and is considered one of the best basketball players of all time. He was scouted as early as sophomore year of high school and dubbed “The Chosen One.” In 2003, he was drafted #1 straight out of high school by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and has been dominating in the league ever since.
Hero or villain? LeBron was the most hated man in Cleveland after he left the Cavs for the Heat in 2010 to chase championship rings, partly because he made a TV special out of it called The Decision. When he decided to come home in 2014, he did it the right way and was welcomed back with open arms. There are plenty of reasons to love LeBron: he had humble beginnings with a teenage single-mom and even spent 2 years in foster care, he’s got serious acting chops (um, Trainwreck anyone?), he married his high school sweetheart, and he is a proud dad to 2 sons that are already killing it in their youth basketball leagues.
Maybe we should cut him some slack? Some folks will say that for all his ring chasing he is actually a disappointment. LeBron only has a 2-4 record in the NBA Finals, while Michael Jordan for example went 6-0. But LeBron hasn’t had the supporting cast of players on his teams that stars like MJ or Kobe Bryant did. In fact, in 3 of the 4 times he lost, his team entered with <31% chance of winning the title.
The case for Steph Curry.
Basketball blood. Steph Curry is a slight 6’3”, 190 lbs. and an insane 3-point shooter. Over the past 3 years he’s set and beaten his own NBA records for most 3-pointers in a season (272, 286, and 402). Basketball fans love him because unlike LeBron, who looks like he was formed by God to play basketball, Steph looks like a regular Joe. Instead, his game is all about quickness and skill. Although, Steph did have the benefit of growing up in a basketball household with his dad Dell Curry who was also a skilled shooter in the NBA.
His own obstacles. Because of his waif-like frame, Steph was often overlooked on the court. He wanted to play for the Virginia Tech Hokies like his dad, but they ran out of scholarships and only offered him a walk-on spot. Instead, he went to Davidson College—a tiny 1700 student liberal arts college not known for its basketball. Steph became an instant March Madness superstar, leading little old Davidson all the way to the Elite Eight.
Media darling. As the 1st ever unanimous pick for MVP and a member of the record-setting 73-win Warriors, Curry is the talk of the town. He’s one of the most well-liked athletes, because of his squeaky clean image, humble demeanor off the court, and ridiculously adorable family (seriously—check out these Riley Curry videos).
NBA Finals Game 2—Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors, the Warriors lead the series 1-0. Sunday, 8pm ET on ABC
NHL Stanley Cup finals Game 3—Pittsburgh Penguins @ San Jose Sharks, the Penguins lead the series 2-0. Saturday, 8pm ET on NBC
French Open. Because of all the rain at the French Open earlier this week, this weekend will be chock full of tennis. Tune in for the Women’s semifinals today at 7am ET, where Serena will be competing for her 22nd Grand Slam title to tie record-holder Steffi Graf. They will be followed by the Men’s semifinals, where both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are still vying for a chance to make it to the finals. The finals will take place this Saturday (Women’s) and Sunday (Men’s) at 9am ET on NBC.