Originally Published at cbc.ca/sports
Like any good bromance, the one between Lionel Messi and Stephen Curry has a long and storied history. What began with mutual admiration online and in the media has quickly blossomed into an exchange of gifts and respect.
And now with Messi heading to San Jose to join Argentina for the Copa America on Friday, the day of union might finally be near.
If it does happen it will be on Sunday around Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Oakland — a mere 60 km away from San Jose.
Messi, in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, appears determined not to let this chance slip by. “Soccer will be the main focus while I’m in the Bay Area, naturally, but part of me is also hoping to meet Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Seeing him play is magical.”
Kerr plays matchmaker
If the meeting does happen, the man responsible will be coach Steve Kerr. Upon taking the reins at Golden State last year, Kerr showed videos of Messi and Barcelona to inspire his team to play a more fast-paced, possession-oriented game.
“We’ve seen how they [Barcelona] play,” said Curry in an April post-game interview, “the things they do in every game, and their playing style is a lot like ours. Both teams like to move the ball and each player is involved in each play”
Back in December, Curry made the first move, sending his signed number “30” jersey to Spain to congratulate Messi on reaching 30 million Instagram followers.
Messi then returned the favour once Curry reached 10 million.
Beyond their individual and team achievements, both players appear to have recognized something familiar in the other. Messi alluded to this in the same SI interview, “If you watch Curry play — or, just as revealing, warm up before the game — you notice his relationship with [the ball]. I try to have that connection in my sport too.”
Both are even the same age — 28 — and are married/partnered to their childhood sweethearts with whom they each have two kids, girls for Curry and boys for Messi.
Above all, however, they are magicians who respect each others’ craft. Considered small for their respective sports, both rely on cunning instead of raw athleticism or power. Kindred spirits in a world gone big.
May their union be blessed.