Former NBA player Richard Jefferson spoke about how LeBron James is rooting for Steph Curry during the finals, despite their rivalry. He believes it is similar to how Michael Jordan conducted himself on and off the court.
James and Curry squared off against each other in four finals series in a row between 2015 and 2018. They always had mutual respect, but their competitive nature saw them go at each when they were on the court.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst seemed surprised by LeBron James' recent positive remarks about Steph Curry due to their rivalry from years ago. He brought up James "looking down" on Steph and giving him "dirty looks."
However, Richard Jefferson doesn't believe that affected LBJ's respect for the Warriors' star. Here's what he replied saying (via NBA on ESPN Twitter):
"I won't say dirty looks. I would say there was a competitive space. When you are in a competitive space, you do it.
"We saw it on 'The Last Dance,' with Michael Jordan. 'I will convince myself of anything that I can to not like you, to hate you, to do what I need to do. Doesn't mean that I don't respect you.'"
Richard Jefferson continued:
"We've even seen that with MJ over the course of his career. He could be best friends with Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley and all of these guys.
"But once he got between those lines, 'I can't stand you, I hate you,' and I think that's more what Bron is, I don't think there was any love lost in those moments."
LeBron James and Steph Curry's mutual respect has grown over the years
LeBron James and Steph Curry's rivalry during the mid-2010s was one of the most storied events in the NBA.
The two were fierce competitors on the court. After locking horns against each other in the finals four years in a row, one would imagine there would be some tension between them.
But that isn't the case, especially since James moved to the Western Conference to play for the LA Lakers in 2018. The "King" has often appreciated the Golden State Warriors superstar's performances. He has also expressed his desire to play alongside Curry.
James has also drafted Curry on his last two All-Star teams as a captain. This has given the fans an epic glimpse into what it would look like if the two modern-day legends teamed up.
LeBron James, on top of that, hasn't shied away from applauding Steph Curry during the NBA Finals. He's done this despite Curry having a chance to equal his championship tally.
It's always a delightful sight for fans to see players of LeBron and Steph's stature compete hard and have mutual respect at the same time.