NBA All-Star 2024: Thoughts on Sabrina vs. Stephen and WNBA’s presence

Photo Credit: Lamar Carter

The professional basketball realm took its annual midseason pause this past weekend in Indiana – a city and state that is very rich in hoops history. 

Every NBA All-Star, particularly in cities that are home to a WNBA team, there is a sizable W presence. 

What one could consider the signature W moment of this past weekend occurred during All-Star Saturday Night with the 3-Point Contest that took place between the New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. 

Ionescu was given an opportunity to launch triples from the WNBA’s 3-Point line. She instead opted to participate from the NBA’s arc. 

Of course, everyone remembers the finals of last year’s WNBA 3-Point competition when Ionescu set a WNBA/NBA record for highest score ever in one of these events. We still are in awe at how she pulled that off….

If one watched the beginning of Ionescu’s performance in Indianapolis, it appeared she was on her way to an encore performance. She started off fast out the gate before tapering off a bit later. 

Still Ionescu tallied 26 points – again – from the NBA line. That ensured Stephen Curry would have to resemble Stephen Curry in order to best the Liberty’s resident sharpshooter from the Bay Area to get in the win column on Saturday night. 

Curry looked like Curry as he put together a 29-point performance. 

The fact that the event was for charity was the most important detail of the competition – one that appears to have been overlooked by more than a few individuals on WNBA or NBA Twitter. 

But, of course, someone had to go and put their foot in their mouth. That someone was none other than Kenny Smith. 

Smith, of course, is a mainstay on TNT’s NBA coverage – not to mention goes into full hype man mode when he’s on the mic for All-Star Saturday Night. It was suggested that perhaps Ionescu would have won the 3-Point shootout with Curry if she had opted to shoot from the WNBA’s 3-Point line. 

Sooo…Ionescu opts to put herself on equal footing with Curry and that is still a problem? Who wants to bet that if Ionescu did win that someone would have tried to downplay her performance by saying if she could do so by using and NBA basketball instead of a WNBA basketball. 

(Sidenote: some Brad or Chad who was probably a Long Island Rec league benchwarmer is probably doing just that instead of seeking therapy.)

The irony is that Ionescu also finished with 26 points in the first round of last year’s WNBA 3-Point Competition. Another irony is that someone else also had 26 points in a 3-Point Contest this past weekend. 

Yep. And Dame Dolla ended up winning the 3-Point competition. His 26 actually tied him with Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) and hometown favorite Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers). 

In fact, it was Dame Time all weekend in Indianapolis. Not only did the Milwaukee Bucks superstar win the 3-Point, he also won All-Star Game MVP with 39 points as the Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference with the final being 211-186. 

Yeah – the number 26 was as every bit as popular on NBA All-Star Saturday night as it is in the state of South Carolina. Ionescu understood that even if she had bested Chef Curry on Saturday night that someone would attempt to downplay what she did if she utilized the W’s 3-Point arc instead of the NBA’s. 

Ionescu may not have won (what we believe will be Sabrina vs. Steph Act I) but she still is a winner – as were both the charity organizations she and Curry were competing for. All of the MNBA guys that showed out were winners as well. 

Kenny “The Jet” Smith on the other hand? Loss column. 

Other than Sabrina vs. Stephen, there was also the Draft Day Stage that was part of the overall experience at NBA All-Star. Hopefully, they run this one back for when we get to Phoenix in July. 

Also…when speaking of GOATs, put some respect on the name Tamika Catchings. 

Also…when speaking of future GOATs, do the same for Aliyah Boston.

Also…Jewell Loyd and Natasha Cloud at the Celebs Game? Jewell Loyd and Natasha Cloud at the Celebs Game…with cameos from A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum, of course. 

Wherever one went in Indianapolis, one could not escape the presence of the W – and we like it that way. 

And while Smith needed to make like a Boeing and Jet for that hideous Ionescu remark, the presence of the WNBA was in full effect in the Hoosier State. 

When the NBA has its All-Star festivities next year at San Francisco’s Chase Center, that WNBA presence may be bigger than ever given it will likely be a launching pad for the Bay Area’s new team that will debut that spring and summer. 

And we. Are. Ready.