Leading Off

The MVP vs. the best in the biz

Golden State’s Stephen Curry, right, scrambles for possession with Cleveland’s LeBron James, left, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. James and Curry both hail from Akron, Ohio, the Rubber City best known for tires and now for producing a pair of bouncing baby basketball prodigies.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry, right, scrambles for possession with Cleveland’s LeBron James, left, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. James and Curry both hail from Akron, Ohio, the Rubber City best known for tires and now for producing a pair of bouncing baby basketball prodigies. AP

Move over, Buster Posey. Stephen Curry is the new fresh-face prince of the Bay Area, if not Northern California.

He scores threes from the corner and drives to the basket to score and draws the foul. He drops bombs at the top of the key – from the opponent’s side of the court.

And when Curry’s not at practice or in games, he’s kissing his pregnant wife, Ayesha, on the Giants “Kiss Kam” Jumbotron at AT&T Park.

One overzealous Bay Area fan, perhaps after enjoying one too many cold ones on a hot afternoon, recently told me, “I tell you, Curry is going to be bigger than Joe Montana when his career is done.”

Uh, let’s let the kid win his first championship – and then maybe four or five more – before we bring Joe into the conversation.

We’ve seen the 49ers, Raiders, Giants and A’s win world championships, but it’s been 40 years since the Warriors lifted the hardware – and most of their fans weren’t even born in 1975. Now, behind Curry, the Warriors are the Western Conference champions and four wins from making the biggest splash to hit the Bay Area since the Giants’ three world titles along McCovey Cove.

But before Curry and the Warriors can host a parade either down Broadway to Jack London Square in Oakland or up Market Street to City Hall in San Francisco, they must get past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Curry may be the league’s MVP, but the best player is James, the first since a handful of Boston Celtics from the 1960s to qualify for five consecutive NBA Finals.

For the past six years, James has been the league’s most popular player, with his Heat or Cavaliers jersey the top seller among NBA players. In second for two consecutive years? Curry’s Warriors No. 30 jersey.

When the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in the Finals in six games, perhaps there will a changing of the guard.

Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527, @sacbeevictor

Playbook

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