When Stephen Curry buried an insane 32-foot three-pointer to give the Golden State Warriors a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night, King James bowed down in respect.
"@StephenCurry30 needs to stop it man!! He's ridiculous man! Never before seen someone like him in the history of ball!" James said Saturday night in a tweet, which has since been interestingly deleted.
While Stephen A. Smith appreciates Bron's willingness to show public respect for his peers, the ESPN personality used Monday's episode of First Take to warn James to put his popcorn down and figure out a way to stop Curry, instead. You know... just in case it's Curry's Warriors against James's Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals again.
"I appreciate the tweets from the Dwyane Wades, the LeBron James of the world and so many others that have watched Steph Curry and his just sensational play from this Saturday night, but what I would caution, particularly LeBron James, is this — it would be nice if you're not sitting there just reveling in the greatness of a guy you would need to figure out a way to beat to win an NBA championship," Smith snarled. "Because let me tell you something... regardless of what anybody wants to say about Steph Curry, we're going to recognize his greatness, but if Cleveland loses in the Finals again, we're also going to recognize that LeBron lost another NBA Finals."
Facts, though. Hard to argue with that. LeBron is already 2-4 in the Finals all-time.
"So, it's nice to love and revere and just shower Steph Curry with all this praise, but somebody had better figure out a damn way to beat him because he's in danger making this entire NBA season a bore because of his dominance," Smith continued. "Somebody needs to figure it out."
And Stephen A. had a little bit more ether aimed at King James for praising Curry's fireworks Saturday night.
"If you're somebody like LeBron, you're expected to meet this brother in the Finals and you're not going to have the excuse of Steph Curry's greatness to fall upon because we're going to be looking for LeBron James to step up and handle his business because what else are you supposed to do?" Smith added to his diatribe. "You can't have a situation where, 'This guy is so great, I just don't know what to do with him.' Listen... there was [Larry] Bird, there was Magic [Johnson], there was [Michael] Jordan. There were a whole bunch of people, but when you're going up against him, you gotta hate him, man."
Hey, it's hard to hate on the point Stephen A. is making here, especially considering that King James could find himself against Curry in a rematch of last year's Finals.
Sure, LeBron might be able to flip a switch then, but would you have liked to have seen him not tweet his awestruck reaction at all Saturday night? James's Cavs did lose both of their regular-season matchups to Curry's Warriors already.
Would MJ or Kobe Bryant have ever praised their competition publicly in their primes like that? Hell, Saturday night passed by and Kobe still didn't tweet about Curry, despite his Los Angeles Lakers being nowhere near playoff contention.
Nothing wrong about showing props, but do you buy into Stephen A.'s argument, urging James to exercise caution about giving it up for Curry when they could face each other in June?
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(Photos from Left: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)