Now in his 20th season, that may no longer be the flagship name of the NBA. Rob Parker, on “The Odd Couple” podcast, said about James’ drawing power:
(Starts at the 4: 30 mark)
“I don’t think LeBron is any longer the face of the NBA for a couple of reasons. He’s been injured a lot. He’s also missed the playoffs three out of the last four years. And to be that guy, you need to be playing in the postseason. It’s Steph Curry!
“LeBron is attached to the worst TV rating for an NBA Finals, and Steph Curry and the Warriors are television gold! I don’t think people are as enamored with LeBron. … I don’t think he’s the box office that he once was.”
LeBron James has missed the playoffs in two of his four seasons with the LA Lakers. He also won the championship in 2020 with Anthony Davis and then lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round the following season.
The Lakers’ 2020 championship, however, is ranked in the lowest-rated and least-watched title series since 1987. Maybe because of the pandemic wreaking havoc on everything, basketball fans who were stuck inside their houses wouldn’t even watch that series.
Steph Curry, over the same four-year span, did not make the playoffs twice but also went to the finals in 2019 and 2022. He recently led the Golden State Warriors to the 2022 title against the Boston Celtics, winning his first NBA Finals MVP in the process.
Last season’s championship versus the Boston Celtics had significantly more views than the 2020 title run of the LA Lakers.
Curry’s best showing, ratings-wise, came in 2016. He and James were most responsible for why Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals is the third most-watched game in any championship series.
The face of the NBA title might still be a toss-up between LeBron James and Steph Curry.
LeBron James and Steph Curry’s respective teams are struggling
Regardless of ratings, LeBron James and Steph Curry’s teams are struggling. Before winning against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, the LA Lakers held a 2-10 record, tied for the worst in the franchise’s history.
If things don’t drastically improve, the Lakers could be facing another long offseason. Father Time is starting to show in LeBron James’ game, and he has been dealing with injuries. Anthony Davis is playing through back pain and could also find himself missing more games.
Ironically, it’s been Russell Westbrook who has been demoted to the bench, who has given the most positive vibe out of the Lakers’ Big Three. General manager Rob Pelinka constructed a team that can’t shoot and lacks perimeter defenders.
The Lakers’ lottery pick, should they end up there, could go to the New Orleans Pelicans if the Pels’ front office decides to do so. They earned the pick swap in Anthony Davis’ trade.
The Golden State Warriors, on the other hand, are only 6-9 and are winless on the road in eight games. Curry exploded for 50 points against the Phoenix Suns, which is normally a recipe for success. The Bay Area team still lost 130-119 on Wednesday.
The Warriors’ bench has been awful as their young role players haven’t developed as expected. James Wiseman has been relegated to the G League. Steve Kerr called his team scattered, playing like they are going up against Drew League competition.