Lakers' LeBron James Praises Steph Curry as 'Once-in-a-Lifetime Basketball Player'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game on October 19, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James praised Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry as he nears the record for the most three-pointers made in NBA history.

"We're all witnesses to what Steph Curry has done in his career and the way that he's changed the game," James told reporters Friday. "He's a once-in-a-lifetime basketball player."

Curry (2,964 threes) stands nine triples behind current record holder Ray Allen (2,973) heading into the Warriors' road game Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

What's most amazing about the impending record-breaking moment is how quickly the 33-year-old Curry has reached the top of the list. Allen played 1,300 regular-season games during his Hall of Fame career. Curry has played just 786.

James said he's happy for his longtime friendly rival because of the type of person he is off the court.

"More importantly, just a great dude," he said. "I wish I could be there to congratulate him. I'll be one of the guys in our league that will congratulate him socially. ... Listen, I know Ray. I know the work that he put into it. And if there's one guy he has to let pass his record, it being Steph, I know Ray is definitely grateful that it would be such a guy like that. Pretty cool accomplishment."

James and Curry faced off in four consecutive NBA Finals from 2015 through 2018, with the Warriors taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers in three of those matchups, but clearly there's no bad blood between two of the best players in league history.

Meanwhile, Allen also provided Curry with a proverbial pat on the back as the record gets ready to change hands tonight or in the coming days.

"He's on his own level, one he made for himself," Allen told Shaun Powell of NBA.com. "He's done such a great job. And he has such great character as a person, and you root for people like that. He's getting everything he deserves."

The sport has changed over the decades to become far more reliant on the three-point shot, but that doesn't take anything away from Curry's accomplishment.

His rate of adding to the total—3.8 threes per game at 43.2 percent shooting efficiency for his career—should allow him to set a standard that'll be hard to chase down for all current and future players, even within the modern play style.

All eyes will be on Curry during Saturday's clash with the Sixers. If he doesn't break the record there, the next stops include road games against the Indiana Pacers on Monday and New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Setting the record in a basketball mecca like Madison Square Garden would add a special element to the moment.