The NBA Finals will feature LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers versus NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Both star players have a shared connection by way of Akron, Ohio.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, both Curry and James had their origins in the Ohio town of Akron. That fact adds hope that the NBA Finals will be worth watching this year, considering that both teams are considered the best in the league and have MVPs to prove themselves on the basketball court.
"It's kind of ironic that he's going back to Cleveland, where he came into the world, to try to get the world championship," Curry's father, Dell Curry, said.
Curry's mother, Sonya Curry, recalled to Berger the birth of her son in Akron, which took over two hours back on March 14, 1988. He was born as Wardell Stephen Curry II.
"There were two hospitals in Akron, and we went to the wrong one the first time," Sonya said. "So we got back into the car, and Brad Daugherty's girlfriend had to take me to the other one."
Curry's mother thought that the matchup between her son and James would be "fun entertainment."
"In his mind, he's working hard, but it's fun for him," Sonya said. "He's loving this whole thing about playing against LeBron and doing all that. And I think that's what helps him because he loves the game of basketball. It's fun, and he loves entertaining. It's going to be awesome."
Sam Amick of USA Today reported that Curry's father, who once played for the Cavaliers, was unable to witness his son's birth because the team was on the road playing against the New York Knicks. However, Dell still made one memory with him around that time.
"My first game in Cleveland, he was two weeks old," Dell recalled. "My wife said he opened his eyes and he stayed awake the entire game, and when the game was over he went back to sleep."
Curry's father then turned to the inevitable comparison between his son and James.
"You've got to beat the best to be the best," Dell said. "It's an old saying, but it's true. LeBron's the best in the world. He's been there, he's done it before, [and] he knows how to prepare his team. The guy can win a series by himself."
Amick elaborated on the significance of the matchup between Curry and James.
"It's the reigning MVP against the four-time MVP, the larger-than-life LeBron dominating with all his power and grace and the diminutive Curry entertaining with his scintillating style," Amick wrote. "The two faced off just once during the regular season, a Feb. 26 matchup in which the Cavs downed the Warriors in 110-99."
Curry elaborated on the challenge facing off against James, who is the hometown favorite in Ohio.
"He's been here plenty of times before - five straight Finals appearances," Curry said. "We've got to bring our 'A' game if we're going to beat a great team and a great player like that four times. We're excited about the challenge."
Curry added that the Warriors would have to "be fighting like crazy every night" if they had any hopes of winning the championship.
"We've got home‑court advantage that we need to capitalize on, and it's going to be a battle and it's going to be fun," Curry said. "This is what every player dreams about when you come into the league, playing for a championship. You're four wins away from your goal, and we're excited about it."
According to Amick, Curry's father was then asked if the people of Ohio would be happy either way that one of their own won it all.
"I don't know if they'd agree with that," Dell said with a laugh.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors will air June 4 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on ABC. Because it will be aired via broadcast, online viewers can freely stream the game on WatchESPN.com or through the WatchESPN app.