An artist who goes by “Maso Rich” has produced hyper-faithful, parallel-universe versions of the Instagram accounts of LeBron James and Steph Curry. In these universes, LeBron is a giraffe and Steph, in an inspired bit of casting, is a bush baby. Deadspin spoke with Maso Rich on the phone to understand where these images are coming from, and why.
The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.
Deadspin: I’ll start out simple. Where did you get the inspiration to depict LeBron James as a giraffe and Steph Curry as a bush baby?
Maso Rich: I’m from Miami, so I’ve been a LeBron fan for a long time. He inspired me really to get more into basketball and all these things back when he was on the Heat. And then I moved to L.A. And then LeBron came here. I’ve just always been a fan. I appreciate the things that he does for people, that he opened a school. He’s always been a great role model. He doesn’t get in trouble. He’s a family man. He’s honestly a person that you can get behind, doesn’t matter who you are. Similar for Steph Curry, but I just was like, after having fun with LeRaffe, I was like, Steph would be fun to do. And then basically I just look at the people. And LeBron was decided before everyone as LeRaffe because I wrote a TV show in 2011 called Animal Friends and one of the episodes was about LeBron. So that’s a different story, though it’s unrelated to 2019, when I just wanted to have an Instagram for fun.
DS: How do you decide on these specific animals? What is your casting process like?
MR: I look at the photo and I’m like, well—LeBron, he was just a generic basketball player in my mind originally, and basketball players are tall. So giraffe. Then I looked at Steph Curry and I was like, Oh he looks like, you know, kind of like a bush baby. I have Shaun Livingston, if you go to the Steph Curry account, as a donkey. He looks like a donkey. It is what it is. So I’d just look at their faces and I’d do my best. There’s not really a process—I just, like, look into my soul and see what comes out.
DS: Right. So LeBron is a giraffe, and Savannah James appears to be a big cat, maybe a puma