Why LeBron James is greater than Steph Curry, according to a 3-time NBA champion

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesSteph Curry and LeBron James.
  • LeBron James is greater than Steph Curry, according to the man tasked with defending him in the 2007 NBA Finals.

  • Three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen, a former small forward for the San Antonio Spurs, recently told Business Insider that James can drag teams to success, while Curry still relies on help from those around him.

  • It is this quality alone that separates James from Curry when it comes to the question of who is greater.

  • Regardless, both are incredibly special talents, Bowen said, and despite their advancing years they are continually evolving and keeping defences on their toes.


LeBron James is greater than Steph Curry because he has the extraordinary ability to carry an otherwise inferior team.

That is the view of Bruce Bowen, a former three-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, who recently told Business Insider that “Steph still needs help” to consistently deliver the victories required to push his side, the Golden State Warriors, into the NBA Finals.

James, like Curry, is a three-time NBA champion – but the way James has achieved his success is far more impressive, Bowen said.

“When you’re talking about Steph and LeBron, I always go with LeBron because Steph can’t carry a team,” Bowen told BI ahead of the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks January match in London, the NBA’s annual event in England.

Read more: I’m a Brit who just went to his first NBA game, and it was more of a spectacle than I could have ever imagined

Bowen’s last NBA championship win was in 2007, a year he came up against James. And he believes the Cleveland Cavaliers team that James was playing in “had no business” being in the finals that year, but were there solely because James had managed to drag them there single-handedly.

Bruce Bowen and LeBron James, 2007 FinalsPhoto by JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty ImagesBowen (left) defends against James in the 2007 NBA Finals.

Bowen and the Spurs got the win that year, but James’ performance levels that season left a massive impression on him. A few years later, James joined the Miami Heat and went on to win two of his three NBA championships there before returning to the Cavs in 2014, where he won his third championship in 2016.

“LeBron got Cleveland to the finals when they had no business being in the finals in 2007. Then they go again when he goes back to Cleveland and you can see the discrepency of what LeBron had to do,” Bowen said.

Read more: This is what makes LeBron James a ‘freak athlete’ according to the NBA coach who knows him better than most

This, Bowen argued, is a stark contrast to how Curry claims his championships, as his ablities are enhanced when playing alongside other key players like Kevin Durant.

“Even without Kevin Durant, Steph still needed help as he wasn’t a finisher. In the finals, it’s all physical and you need to withstand the physicality. Steph wasn’t able to, but you add KD to the mix, now he is able to do things, roam, and be free.”

Both players are continually evolving

Though Bowen sides with James when it comes to overall greatness, what separates both players from many of their peers is that they refuse to rest on their laurels and continually improve their respective skillsets.

Business Insider previously analysed how James, who has dazzled with stunning baskets and self-assists, has added a “Curry-like” quality to his arsenal this season, which has made him an even bigger nightmare for defences.

But Bowen believes this has been a change born from necessity. “I think a lot of times, with age comes more jump shots. No longer are you going to the rim as it’s more taxing on the body and LeBron takes a beating. So now you’re thinking, ‘Oh, I’m open here,’ and he shoots.”

And James is not the only one of the two who has been continually evolving. “Steph’s talent was always shooting, he added other things, move up the basketball, set guys up, get to certain spots on the floor, and work on his dribbling.”

Read more: Steph Curry broke yet another NBA record, and it was all because of his laser-guided shooting from distance

Though Bowen believes James is the greatest of the two, Curry still has undeniable and clear talents that “make him special in this game.”

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