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Steph Curry squeaks past Sabrina Ionescu in 3-point showdown at NBA All Star weekend

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham02/17/24


Curry Ionescu
Photos by Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

While it was certainly a more amicable showdown than the famed “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs on a tennis court, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu both certainly wanted to win. A claim at being the best 3-point shooter in the world was on the line.

And ultimately, it was Curry coming out on top by a slim margin, 29-26.

The rules were similar to the basic NBA or WNBA All-Star 3-point shooting contest, with a few compromises. Ionescu shot with WNBA-sized basketballs, but did shoot from NBA range for 3; Curry shot NBA-sized basketballs and from the usual distance.

With the win, Curry took him a title belt and the honors of winning the inaugural showdown. Both players take home $25,000 to give to a charity of their choice.

The showdown came after Ionescu’s record-setting performance at the 2023 WNBA All Star 3-point contest, where she scored a record 37 points. It surpassed a record that Curry held and set at a prior NBA All Star weekend.

“Just go out there and do the best that I can. I’m obviously excited for this opportunity and hopefully can make more than I miss,” Ionescu said before the contest began.

Curry demurred on his opportunity to retake his record, but was happy to follow Ionescu in the shooting order.

“All I want to do is just have a good time, put on a great show. Like Sabrina gets to set the bar, I get to see what I can do,” Curry said on the TNT broadcast before either player went to shoot.

Curry, the NBA all-time leader in 3 pointers made while also being 12th amongst NBA players all-time in 3-point percentage, making more than 42% of his career attempts from deep, will surely be a tough out for Ionescu. But Ionescu will surely be up to the task to give him a challenge. She is just shy of 38% from deep in her WNBA career and shot a blistering 44.3% from deep in the 2023 season.

And despite coming up short by a shot or two, Ionescu didn’t let the moment get lost on her.

She had said earlier in the day that one of the biggest hopes she had for the event was to inspire others, namely other women and girls in basketball, by showing that they can compete on the biggest stage against the very best, just like her.

Following a strong showing, Ionescu felt she had gotten that much done.

“Put on a show, but understanding what this means and excited to change the narrative and do it alongside the greatest to ever do it,” Ionescu said.