Greatness is assured as LeBron James and Stephen Curry are ready to compete on smaller stages with inferior opponents.

Warriors-Lakers is a great series matchup between two of the best players ever.

The ability to overcome obstacles that confound everyone else, such as poor matches, dismal seasons, injured or underperforming supporting players, truly deserving competition, and the weight of carrying disappointing teams, distinguishes the truly all-time greats from the rest.

One star teammate attacking another, only 11 regular-season road victories, a mediocre defense, and the need to maintain a suddenly faltering dynasty in the face of so much impending uncertainty were also on the Golden State Warriors’ list of concerns and the shaky season that followed them.

But on Sunday, all of those things were eclipsed by Stephen Curry’s absurd, exceptional, and undeniable talent. It was a truly legendary playoff performance from a legendary player.

Curry made 50 to remove all of these barriers, proving once again that despite all the other realities in the world, this one is still true: Steph is still Steph.

Curry’s heroic effort made him the first NBA player to hit 50 points in a Game 7 ever. In a second half that began with a two-point Kings advantage and finished as a lesson in one of the game’s masters at work, he scored 30 — 30! — of those points.

The outcome was a 120-100 thrashing of the Sacramento Kings, setting up a matchup with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round, but it was also more than that.

It served as a sobering historical reminder that, sometimes, the things we believe to be true about basketball teams, probable opponents, playoff seeds, struggling organizations, old or declining teammates, angst, and self-doubt, don’t matter when measured against some of the greatest players to have ever played the sport.

After the game, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told the media, “We all take him for granted because he’s fantastic night after night. “We’ve been watching this for ten years, and every so often you just have to remind yourself that, in the grand scheme of things, ‘This is one of the greatest players in the history of the game.’

When I was a player with Michael Jordan, I experienced that, said Kerr. “You just took it for granted because you saw it every night. That’s how Steph operates.

Yes, it is and has been with Steph and LeBron for the majority of this season.

The Warriors and Lakers were ranked ninth and thirteenth in the Western Conference, respectively, as of February 25. One of them will now likely advance past the Western Conference finals.

Indeed, Kevon Looney had a fantastic Sunday, grabbing 21 rebounds. In addition, a lot of support has developed between now and each of these teams’ recent turnarounds, including Looney, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others for the Warriors, and Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and others for the Lakers.

However, LeBron for the Lakers and Steph for the Warriors have been their respective teams’ true stars.

These are not just outstanding athletes. LeBron and Steph have done things in the past year to remind us of their exceptional spots in the annals of the game, such as Curry’s barrage of 50 points. They are historically remarkable.

They are all among the top five players of all time, at least in my opinion, and they can each help teams go further than they have this season.

It is simple to forget how outstanding these players are and how they affect the postseason. Both are older. Each has missed enough games over the past few seasons due to injuries to be eliminated from MVP contention and partly overshadow their continued significance. The perception that this period belongs to younger stars on the rise has been furthered by the fact that each has occasionally looked his age, particularly during these playoffs.

It’s time to put that idea on wait once more. It’s time to keep in mind that despite the difficulties they are currently facing, they are still dangerous and capable.

Curry giving it his all to will and carry his sixth-seeded team to a second-round matchup against LeBron James, who did the same things to carry his seventh-seeded team into May in his own series against the Memphis Grizzlies, is the pinnacle reminder that in the NBA, all-time greatness should never be discounted.

Each player has left behind a tremendous amount of history, even just in the last few months. Both are among the best players who have ever lived. Even in the face of weaker opponents, greater odds, and more forceful and capable opposition, both have resisted the urge to give up.

The Kings are deserving of so much praise, and they have a promising future. Same goes for a Grizzlies club that lacked key players for its series but otherwise appears to be destined for success. But neither could defeat the GOAT who stood in their way because, when it is at its peak, greatness can elevate both its team and itself to victory over anyone.

Kerr is correct. We take Steph and LeBron, who have won two of the previous three NBA Finals, for granted so easily because the ordinary rarely feels exceptional. even legendary greatness.

Perhaps the other is the only assurance against one of them. And starting on Tuesday, we’ll get to see which GOAT can best the competition once more.