Stephen Curry and LeBron James are buddies, which makes what is happening in uptown Charlotte today all the sweeter.
LeBron just got finished watching from the front row in Time Warner Cable Arena as Curry poured in 44 points to carry Davidson to a 72-67 win over N.C. State. He came to the game despite the fact he played last night and will play tonight, too, against Charlotte with his Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. (Curry plans to be there for that one, he says).
LeBron befriended Curry last year in the NCAA tourney run, obviously recognizing in Curry some of the extraordinary skills that LeBron owns himself. The two mainly keep in touch with text messages these days. Curry said after the game that LeBron sent him a complimentary text after he scored zero against Loyola, standing in the corner on most offensive possessions to draw a double-team and allowing Davidson to win by 30.
LeBron's text said winning was all that mattered, Curry said, and complimented the Davidson star on his unselfishness. Curry said he watches LeBron on TV and texts him after some games, too, but that his texts are more along the line of "Sick Dunk!"
LeBron also texted Curry Saturday morning, wishing him luck, but didn't tell Steph he was coming to the Davidson-State game. LeBron said afterward he only decided to come at 11:30 a.m. -- tipoff was at noon. "Being in my position, I can kinda do things like that," LeBron said, laughing. "I didn’t want to do that, I didn’t want to pull that string, but I had to.... And I got a decent seat, too."
James said the time commitment was well worth it and called Curry's game "spectacular."
Against N.C. State, Curry took 33 shots because that was the best way for Davidson to win (he made 15). N.C. State played him so closely on defense he often drove past defenders and then threw up crazy-looking bank shots. In the second half, LeBron would invariably hold a finger or fist aloft on every Curry shot, then slam it down when the ball dropped.
LeBron's biggest reaction came when Curry hit a 37-foot three-pointer that basically cinched the game for Davidson, but he also got up out of his seat several other times in celebration of Curry baskets. It was an entertaining sideshow -- LeBron as Superfan. After Curry's 37-footer (that number is an estimate from Coach Bob McKillop), Curry came walking back and pointing at LeBron in celebration.
It was quite a moment in an arena filled with red -- both the State and Davidson versions -- and in a game that felt like an NCAA tournament contest all the way through.
The only downside for Curry Saturday: he missed three free throws, usually about a month's worth for him. He laughingly blamed that on another one of his Superfans -- his Mom Sonya. Curry said she kept yelling to him "Stay on the line!", believing he was drifting back while taking free throws, and that psyched him out.