The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have faced off in the NBA Finals for the past four years, sparking quite the rivalry between the teams’ star players, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, respectively. The Warriors took home the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in 2015, while the Cavaliers won in 2016 and 2017. So far in 2018, the Warriors are up 3-0.
With Game 4 scheduled for Friday, June 8, Us Weekly rounds up everything you need to know about Curry, 30, and James, 33, from the history of their professional careers to their families and much more.
Curry opted out of his senior year at Davidson College in North Carolina to join the NBA. He was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Warriors and went on to finish in second place for the league’s Rookie of the Year, which was awarded to Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings. By the 2013 to 2014 season, the point guard quickly became one to watch. He made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2014 and won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award the next year, in addition to leading the Warriors to their first championship since 1975. In 2016, Curry became the first player in NBA history to be elected MVP by a unanimous vote. He is currently competing for his third championship title.
James skipped college and joined the NBA straight out of St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in Ohio, where he also played football. He was selected with the first overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Cavaliers. In his first regular season game, he scored an astounding 25 points, setting a record for most points by a prep-to-pro player. He was lauded early on as a superstar athlete and earned the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. James left the Cavaliers as a free agent in 2010 to sign with the Miami Heat. But he returned to his home team in 2014. He won the MVP Award in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. He is currently competing for his fourth championship title.
Basketball runs in the Curry family. Stephen’s father, Dell, played in the NBA from 1986 to 2002, while his brother, Seth, joined the league in 2014. Seth, 27, has been a member of various teams including the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks. Curry married his longtime girlfriend, Ayesha, in July 2011. They share daughters Riley, 5, and Ryan, 2, and have another baby on the way. Ayesha, 29, announced her third pregnancy in February.
James married his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, in September 2013. They are the parents of sons LeBron Jr., 13, and Bryce, 10, and daughter Zhuri, 3.
Curry — who has been branded the greatest shooter in NBA history by many fellow athletes, analysts and fans — earned $12.1 million in the 2016 to 2017 season, via ESPN. His gross payout for the 2017 to 2018 season is estimated to be $34 million, making him the highest-paid NBA player at the moment.
James follows close behind. His payout for the 2017 to 2018 season is approximately $33 million, via ESPN. He had the highest salary in the 2016 to 2017 season with $30.9 million.
In 2012, Curry began donating three insecticide-treated mosquito nets to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets for every three-pointer he scored. The campaign helps combat malaria.
James supports many nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and After-School All-Stars. He also has his own LeBron James Family Foundation.
Curry has been the face of Under Armour’s footwear line since the 2013 offseason. He signed a multiyear deal with his company Unanimous Media in April to produce family-friendly video games and electronics.
James signed a lifetime endorsement contract with Nike in 2015. His longtime business partner, Maverick Carter, told GQ in 2016 that the deal is worth more than $1 billion.
Curry and James were both born at Summa Akron City Hospital in Ohio.