The basket increased the Lakers by three with less than a minute to go, an advantage they would maintain to reach seventh place in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Warriors face a deadly clash with the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow to reach the eighth and final playoff position.
The game was the last chapter in a rivalry that has defined the NBA since the Warriors ’rise in 2015. Curry and James met four times in a row in the NBA Finals between 2015 and 2018, with the Curry Warriors winning three James titles. Knights one. But crucially, James took the lead in the most memorable playoff series of all time, and came back 3-1 down to throw the Warriors home in Game 7 of 2016. That was the game in which Curry threw the ball trying a back pass, the game featuring James’ heroic block chasing Andre Iguodala and Kyrie Irving’s three-point push to get the title, right in the Curry’s face.
Yesterday, when asked after the game about James ’long-distance miracle, Curry could only shrug as he remembered Irving’s shot. “Well, I’ve seen it before,” he said with a smile before allowing an ironic smile. “About five years ago.”
Curry and James showed love after the game and are clearly in good shape these days. But it was not always so.
Things started pretty rosy. James had been a big fan of Curry when the shooter was on the rise at Davidson College. He even attended one of Curry’s games as a second grader to cheer him on.
Due to a series of ankle injuries, it would be some time before Curry established himself as a professional and, with the three-point shooter still not threatening his throne, James was happy to play the mentor role. But as Curry’s star began to rise, the relationship cooled.
Curry’s consecutive MVPs in 2015 and 2016, the second fruit of a hitherto unprecedented unanimous vote, irritated James. Curry’s kind and often silly demeanor was a hit with the kids and, with his diminutive size and baby face appearance, he seemed the more relatable of the two. Curry was suddenly the most popular player in the NBA and, by some estimates, the best. That’s why that 2016 win was so sweet for James. He was reminding the world who the real king was.
As fierce and sometimes hostile as their rivalry has been, the truth is that having a worthy opponent to compete has probably allowed both players to reach higher heights than they would have without the presence of the other. When you know you’re competing against an opponent who has the ability to dominate you or even humiliate you, as these two players can do, you’ll play a lot more.
In This Is Your Brain On Sports: The Science of Underdogs, The Value of Rivalry and What We Can Learn From the Cannon T-Shirt, L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers write, “Something about having an opponent makes us delve deeper, in unexploited reserves. For all sports myths, competition is a healthy thing that is not a myth. It is something that can be proven to be true. Rivalry is this mega competition in which it is not just one team against another, but it is very directed. Both sides have said to themselves, “This matters more.”
Similarly, a 2014 study called “Driving to Win: Rivalry, Motivation, and Performance” published in Social Psychology and Personality Sciences, showed how rivalry can lead to greater effort to succeed among long-distance runners. distance.
In the study, the presence of at least one rival saw runners improve their times in five-kayak races by almost 25 seconds, rather than a race against any rival.
The benefits of rivalry also extend to the workplace. Research published in the Harvard Business Review has been found just sitting next to someone who is highly productive can increase your own productivity and your work quality by up to 10%.
One caveat, though: Rivalries can be consumer-friendly, even toxic. A study published in the Academy of Management Journal was found when people compete against their rivals (compared to non-rival competitors), they are more willing to behave unethically to win.
This is why context and perspective are required when identifying a rival. A shabby attitude is problematic and probably divides into the workplace, where you are supposed to be part of the same team. An opponent on the sports field is a different matter, but the bottom line is that healthy rivals are respected, which was evident in the hugs of LeBron and Curry yesterday after the game. You want to win, yes, but you will give up on your opponent if they manage to beat you. And, silently, I promised, as Curry probably did yesterday, that he would get James next time.
Here are some other rivalries celebrated:
Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi
Two players who at any other time would be alone at the top of the mountain, are still fighting for supremacy at the top. Messi has the lead with a record six Golden Ball in Ronaldo’s five, but the Portuguese star’s amazing physical condition can see him enjoy a longer first half.
Roger Federer v Raphael Nadal v Novak Djokovic
For a time, the Fed took the top of the tennis world on its own, racking up numerous grand slam victories in the early 2000s. Nadal stood out as the “king of clay,” but was largely ineffective. on other surfaces until the 2010s, when he became a true Fed crown candidate. Then, the Djoker came and usurped them both (although it wasn’t Christmas at the French Open). Fed and Nadal are locked in 20 Grand Slams, but 18-year-old Djoker and a youth relative to his side are closing.
Bill Gates v. Steve Jobs
According to Business Insider, these two “wfrom prudent allies to bitter rivals, to something that is almost close to friends: sometimes they were all three at the same time ”.
Chris v. Liam Hemsworth
As Chris told MH in 2019, it is possible that ninja stars were released as children, but unfortunately for our purposes, today they are the biggest fans of the other.
Jon Jones v. Francis Ngannou
Well, hopefully this will turn into a rivalry. The worst new man on the planet in Ngannou against Jones’ MMA GOAT. Jones is looking at a step on the heavyweights to fight Ngannou if the money is there. So far it has not been, however, in case they met in the Octagon, this could be ugly, bitter and twisted. . . in a good way.
Michael Jordan v. LeBron James
Aside from Curry, James ’real rival for basketball immortality is Jordan. The GOAT v The King is the subject of a billion online flame wars, which divide generations, sometimes even families. As James told Sports Illustrated in 2016, “My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost lived in Chicago. ” It remains to be seen if Father Time (undefeated) will catch the king before he can catch “Black Jesus”.