This evening, the NBA finals are (finally) back. For the third consecutive year it's a match-up between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and the new-look Golden State Warriors, whose addition of superstar Kevin Durant has helped them reel off 12 straight playoff wins for the first time in NBA history. 

The NBA Finals Trilogy has its fair share of storylines.

Will Cleveland's lack of bench depth finally catch up to them against the best team in basketball? Can LeBron channel his inner Michael Jordan and pull off what would be a stunning upset? 

Have the Warriors developed enough chemistry to outlast Cleveland's big three of James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving? Will we see the version of Steph Curry that struggled at times during the regular season, or the suddenly-full-bearded three-point sharpshooter we've seen in the playoffs? 

We shall see. 

In the meantime, let's take a look at how the super stars of both teams use their influence and wealth to help others. How, exactly, do they stack up in the world of charity?

Steph Curry

Steph Curry is currently using his long-range prowess to help take down malaria. In partnership with the United Nations, Steph Curry is a leader of the Nothing But Nets campaign that aims to bring protective nets to millions of people around the world who are prone to the mosquito-borne disease. 

Curry took this commitment further when he launched the Three-For-Three Challenge in 2014. For every three-pointer he made during the season, he promised to donate three bed nets.

The nimble shooting guard also hosts an annual golf tournament called ThanksUSA which sends proceeds to the Ada Jenkins Center, a crisis center for families in need, located in Davidson, NC. 

Lebron James

Lebron James is the most dominant player in the NBA--is he also the most charitable?

Well, the Lebron James Family Foundation is definitely making a case for that. The bulk of the foundation's work is focused on Lebron's hometown, Akron, Ohio, but it extends beyond this midwestern city. 

Education is perhaps Lebron's greatest passion. His foundation spends at least $1 million USD per year on initiatives including programs that help elementary schoolers get interested in school; provide adults with college resources; and help students learn how to code. 

For example, Wheels for Education involves inviting a group of 3rd graders to a technology boot camp each year. The students receive "support, encouragement and incentives" and the assistance follows the kids through graduation. Incentives include things like HP computers and bus fare. 

Ultimately, the program is meant to target dismal dropout rates. 

Meanwhile, the I Promise campaign, earmarks $41 million for college for 1,100 Akron students. 

While education is the engine of the foundation, it takes a holistic view of charity, continually hosting events and programs that promote civic engagement and boost self-esteem. 

Dozens of partners, including the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Children's Defense Fund, lend a hand and collectively help the foundation make a huge difference. 

Check out the rest of the foundation's work here

While the two players are enemies on the court, they're both on the same team when it comes to making the world a better place. 

And for that, maybe they can split this year's Final's MVP Award. 


Demand Equity

How Steph Curry and Lebron James Stack Up in the Charity World

By Joe McCarthy  and  Phineas Rueckert