Sabrina Ionescu has been a much-talked about baller going back to her days at Oregon not to mention her connection to the late, great Kobe Bryant.
If fans did not know who the rising New York Liberty star was prior to last year’s WNBA All-Star festivities, they certainly knew afterwards for what she did in the 3-Point Contest at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
Yeah…our jaws are still on the floor just thinking about how Ionescu pulled THAT off.
If it was not clear before that Ionescu had assumed Allie Quigley’s torch as the WNBA’s new queen of the 3-ball before that performance in Sin City, it certainly was at the moment. Of course, much of WNBA X-formerly-known-as-Twitter began daydreaming about a Quigley vs. Ionescu 3-Point Contest at a future All-Star weekend.
Or maybe a Ionescu vs. Stephen Curry contest at an upcoming NBA or WNBA All-Star weekend.
Oh, wait…it’s happening?
It’s happening. Saturday, Feb. 17 is the date and Lucas Oil Stadium – home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts – will be the site. Both Ionescu and Curry will be raising money for charity. And while the contest is mentioning how Ionescu can shoot from the WNBA’s 3-point line, Ionescu tweeted she plans to launch from the NBA’s.
Let us put how the NBA has homogenized its All-Star logo (as opposed to the wow factor of recent WNBA All-Star logos) to the backburner for a second. Those who are organizing the NBA’s upcoming midseason festivities in Indianapolis are going all out to let people know that the basketball hotbed that is the Hoosier State will be home to this year’s All-Star weekend.
How many airports does one know of that have a whole basketball court in its airport as part of the build-up to an All-Star weekend? Dropping 30 points on your homegirl you met at an Indy club while waiting on your flight to Philadelphia is certainly a flex.
If we see one of those courts at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport this summer at WNBA All-Star, someone is definitely dropping 30 points.
The WNBA’s involvement at NBA All-Star weekend has certainly been a well-documented topic over the years. One had to know that Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings would have a role. Low and behold, Catch will be one of the coaches for the Rising Stars Game.
Also, NBA All-Star weekend used to feature the Shooting Stars Challenge with four teams of three representing cities. Those teams included a current WNBA star, a current NBA star and an NBA legend with halfcourt shots closing out the competition.
One thing we will say about the upcoming Sabrina Ionescu vs. Stephen Curry 3-Point Contest is how one has to believe it is the first of two.
Think about it…where is NBA All-Star emanating from next year? Chase Center in San Francisco. Not to mention NBA All-Star 2025 will likely be a massive launching pad for the WNBA’s new Bay Area franchise.
Curry is an adopted son of the Bay Area out of the Carolinas. Ionescu is a native daughter of Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County. It is certainly a great way to plug next season’s All-Star festivities in Northern California, but a hypothetical Sab vs. Steph II in the Bay Area would be epic.
And this year’s rendition will be the highlight of this year’s All-Star weekend. At this point we know exactly what to expect from the NBA’s All-Star festivities. One can even make the argument that nowadays since actual four-quarter NBA games are concluding with All-Star esque scores these days that it may not be long before we see an actual 200-point game by one of the teams.
Perhaps old school fans may be hooked because this year’s All-Star is going back to the traditional East vs. West format (one wonders if the W will do the same in Phoenix, but our guess is there likely will be a tie in with USA Basketball given it is an Olympic year).
But we know what to expect – including the official 3-Point Contest being more of a highlight than the Slam Dunk. The more WNBA involvement in NBA All-Star weekend the better – especially when said weekend is taking place in a WNBA city like Indy.
But we can already see it now from some individuals who clearly have not watched a single women’s basketball game if it does not involve Caitlin Clark. If Ionescu were to best Curry in this 3-Point Competition, it would not be an embarrassment for Curry to “lose to a woman.”
First…the charity element is more important than the actual numbers. Second, Ionescu has always been a proficient 3-point shooter. Women can shoot 3-pointers just as well as men can and some say better because the women’s game is more team-oriented.
Ionescu and Curry are two of the best basketball players on the planet – and two of the best long-range sharpshooters on the planet. Basketball has become more of a guard-based, 3-point based game because of Curry and Ionescu is one way the Mamba’s presence continues to be felt throughout all levels of basketball.
Plus it brings more attention to the WNBA and that will translate to even higher ratings and higher attendance – and more money flowing in the league’s direction.
We are so ready for this…just make sure to run it back next year. For the Bay.