February 20, 2024
WRITTEN BY:
Melinda Head

The NBA All-Star Game

A New Twist

The NBA All-Star Game is an annual exhibition basketball game which pits top players from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference against each other.

Starting players are selected by accredited fans (50%), players (25%) and select media (25%). In addition, the head coaches from each Conference have the right to choose 7 reserve players: 2 guards, 3 frontcourt players and 2 players of any position, for a total of 14 selections (they cannot choose their own players). A total of 24 players is included in the line-up.

So, it’s not a surprise that Big Names rise to the surface. The NBA All-Star Game is a showcase for the most skilled players in the NBA, and has included such greats at Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, to name just a few.

This year’s All-Star line-up included:

At the end of the day, the 2024 All-Star Game was described as unwatchable and unfixable. If you didn’t see it, you didn’t miss anything momentous; however, a milestone was achieved with the Giannis Antetokounmpo-captained Eastern Conference team delivering the highest-ever scoring win over the West: 211-186. It was also a good day for Damian Lillard, who was named MVP, after scoring 39 points, making 11 3-pointers and finishing with 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal.

“I just told myself I'm going to be aggressive and I'm going to keep firing. I saw a couple go in and after that it was just like I’m going after it." (Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks Guard)

6’2”, 195 lb., 33-year old Olympic Gold medallist Damian Lillard earned MVP at Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis. In the hip-hop/rapper world he is known as Dame D.O.L.L.A.

This highly anticipated event, first held in 1951, is preceded by other charitable initiatives and community engagement. This past weekend was no exception; adding to the fun and excitement was a Three-Point Contest that was also a first-ever NBA/WNBA Battle of the Sexes.

Stephen Curry and Sabrina Ionescu faced off against each other on Saturday in a Three-Point Contest

The highly accomplished son of a professional basketball player, Stephen Curry plays Point Guard for the Golden State Warriors. At 6’2”, 185 lbs. he is considered to be the greatest shooter of all, honed by his three-point shot approach to the Game.

Sabrina Ionescu is also a Point Guard. She was the 1st round, 1st overall pick at the 2020 WNBA draft, and was scooped up by New York Liberty. A first generation American whose father is from Romania, Ionescu is 3 inches shorter than Curry at 5’11” and 20 lbs. lighter.

How does a Three-Point Contest work?

Ball racks are stationed at 5 locations around the 3 point-line. Four of the racks contain 4 orange balls and 1 money ball. The orange balls are worth 1 point and the money ball, which has to be the last ball shot on each rack, is worth 2 points. The fifth rack is an all-money ball rack; each competitor gets to choose where this rack will be placed among the 5 rack locations, adding an extra element of strategy to the contest. Each money ball on this rack is worth 2 points. Two pedestals are placed deeper than the 3 point line, closer to the center court logo, and each pedestal holds a white basketball. A made shot from this deep range is worth 3 points. The maximum number of possible points is 40. No one has ever achieved a perfect score.

In 2023 Ionescu scored 37 points in a Three-Point Contest - the highest in both WNBA and NBA history, breaking the previous record of 31 set by Stephen Curry. So, pairing the two in Saturday’s Contest was a stroke of genius.

To even the playing field and of her own accord, Ionescu chose to shoot from the NBA three-point line, which is roughly 2 feet further from the basket than the WNBA line. She used a WNBA ball, which has a circumference that is 1” smaller than an NBA ball. Makes sense, as the average size of man’s hand is 7.6” compared to 6.8” for women. The ball also weighs 2 ounces less, compensating for gender weight differences.

As an aside, can anyone who scored well in high school physics explain the “net out” of two players shooting from the same distance, one player with a slightly larger, slightly heavier ball vs. another with a slightly smaller, slightly lighter ball? Who has the advantage? Please share your analysis in the comments section at the very end of this blog page.

Sabrina Ionescu remains the winningest-ever three-point contest scorer

“That decision to move to the NBA line was something I wanted to do from the beginning. Just continuing to push boundaries and equal the playing field … I think it’s going to show a lot of young kids out there, a lot of people who might not have believed or even watched women’s sports that we’re able to go out there and put on a show. So it was really exciting to finally be able to do this.” (Sabrina Ionescu)

In the end, Curry was triumphant with a score of 29 against Ionescu’s 26 points. Ionescu still holds her 2023 37-point crown. Will anyone ever hit 40? Perhaps … back in 1976 14 year old Romanian Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0 at the Montreal Summer Olympics. Perfect was thought to be impossible, then it was possible. Anything is possible.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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