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Steph Curry-Sabrina Ionescu shootout set for All-Star Weekend

The Warriors guard will face off with the WNBA superstar during All-Star Saturday in Indianapolis

Western Conference Finals - Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers
Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu pose in 2019, unaware of their budding rivalry
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Steph Curry is the top three-point shooter in NBA history. Sabrina Ionescu had the best three-point contest round in All-Star history. They’ll face off against each other on All-Star Weekend.

The Golden State Warriors star has won the NBA Three-Point Contest twice, in 2015 and 2021. Curry defeated teammate Klay Thompson in his first victory with a then-record 27 points in the final round (out of 34), only to have Thompson turn the tables with a 27-point performance to win the 2016 contest.

At last year’s WNBA All-Star Game, the New York Liberty’s Ionescu put up the best three-point contest performance in history, scoring 37 of a possible 40 points while making 25 of her 27 attempts. (The scoring has gone up thanks to the contest adding a full rack of two-point “money balls” and two three-point, long-range “Starry balls”).

Curry and Tyrese Haliburton are tied for the most points in an NBA contest, with 31 out of a possible 40. Curry did his sharpshooting in the first round in 2021, when he would defeat Mike Conley by drilling his last two shots in the final round.

Curry and Ionescu will compete with standard three-point contest rules, with one modification. Curry will shoot from the NBA three-point line with a regulation NBA ball; Ionescu will shoot from the WNBA line with a WNBA ball. We believe the Starry balls are regulation size, though we assume they are rubbed down with lemons and limes in advance.

It’s an exciting challenge for the fans and players, and it’ll raise money for charity. The NBA is making an unspecified donation to each player’s foundation, while State Farm will donate $1,000 per made three, $2,000 per money ball, and $3,000 per Starry ball to the NBA Foundation. Though we think Starry should also be kicking in for the extra publicity - come on, PepsiCo! We might expect this level of cheapness from Sierra Mist, but not Starry.

Unfortunately, the recent history of Warriors players shooting for charity at the All-Star Game hasn’t been great. In 2016, Draymond Green tied 5’4” comedian Kevin Hart in a three-point shootout, though review of the tape shows Hart had his foot on the line on a few of his makes.

It’s possible that the embarrassment from this performance led Green to act out in the playoffs, taking out his Hart-related frustration on Steven Adams’ groin.

In 2017, the NBA held the “Sager Shootout” to raise money for the late Craig Sager’s foundation. Curry was up last, tasked with making a shot from mid-court to put the total at $500,000. He missed. Nine times in a row,

While Curry fell short in shooting for charity before, he’s donated thousands of anti-malaria nets over the years through the Nothing But Nets program, which are based on donating three nets for every three-pointer he makes (The Warriors match these donations.).

Sabrina vs. Steph should be great for fans and great for charity. Now let’s see Starry step it up.

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