Stephen Curry admits he was surprised by LeBron James’ trash talk during the Finals

2018 NBA Finals - Game One

Stephen Curry and LeBron James are two players who very rarely engage in on-court confrontations or trash talk as they allow their game to speak for itself.

But having met in the NBA Finals for four straight years, there was always bound to be some animosity between the pair as they were in the midst of a rivalry.

There has been no love lost between many Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors players over the last four seasons.

LeBron is normally a reserved character but he let his emotions get the better of him in an intense Game 1 matchup with the Dubs in their most recent finals meeting.

After seeing an opportunity to take a 1-0 lead slip away due to J.R. Smith's inexplicable late blunder, James went into the overtime period feeling extremely frustrated.

Boiling over

The Warriors capitalised on Smith's error and dominated overtime to win the game.

But before the buzzer sounded, Curry attempted to convert a meaningless layup but LBJ was having none of it and rejected the shot.

This led to the two superstars staring each other down and exchanging words.

2018 NBA Finals - Game One

In a recent appearance on The Bill Simmons podcast, Steph explained the situation and admitted he was caught off guard by LeBron's trash talking.

"It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment," Curry said.

"...I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?'

"And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

James was clearly in the heat of the moment as his historic 51-point performance meant nothing as they'd let the game slip away.

Despite their verbal encounter, however, Curry insists there's still mutual respect between the two.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four

"There's definitely a mutual respect," he said. "I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment."

The All-Star duo will see a lot more of each other next season after the King chose to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers.

They'll resume acquaintances in an eagerly anticipated showdown on Christmas Day.

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