Stephen Curry is a wonderful three-point shooter. The exact same thing needs to be said about his weekend’s opponent Sabrina Ionescu. Source: Imago Images
Stephen Curry is a wonderful three-point shooter. The exact same thing needs to be said about his weekend’s opponent Sabrina Ionescu. Source: Imago Images

NBA All-Star Weekend: Will WNBA’s Legend Defeat Curry?

Basketball OlyBet 16.02.2024

This weekend, basketball’s crème de la crème has converged in Indianapolis for the All-Star Weekend, a spectacle brimming with different contests and games. Among the highlights is the showdown between Sabrina Ionescu and Stephen Curry from downtown.

Last year, the 26-year-old American sensation swept the WNBA three-point contest, racking up a staggering 37 out of 40 points, setting both NBA and WNBA marks, and toppling Curry’s previous record of 31.

Ionescu’s record:

Golden State Warriors maestro Curry, renowned as the greatest sharpshooter of all time, has drained more treys than anyone in NBA history. It’s an indisputable fact, just like his pivotal role in transforming the game into a three-point frenzy.

Curry and Ionescu play by nearly identical rules in the contest, differing only in shooting distance: the Warriors’ wizard fires from beyond the NBA arc at 7.24 meters, while Ionescu takes aim from the slightly closer WNBA line at 6.75 meters. So, who’s the favorite? Based on last year’s performance, the edge goes to Ionescu!

The outcome will be decided in the early hours of February 18th CET, as three more electrifying contests are slated: the Kia Skills Challenge (where participants showcase their passing and shooting prowess), the three-point contest (Curry’s and Ionescu’s battle is not included in this), and the dunk contest.

Stars Descend on Saturday

The All-Star Weekend kicks off bright and early Saturday morning for Europeans, starting with the celebrity game followed by the Rising Stars game. The latter features selected NBA rookies or sophomores and some G League players hitting the hardwood.

The Rising Stars game, with its ever-evolving format, sees four teams assembled this year, captained by basketball luminaries Pau Gasol, Detlef Schrempf, Jalen Rose, and four-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings. Notably, they drafted their own players, with Schrempf exclusively selecting G League talents.

How the teams were drafted:

Each team boasts seven or eight players, including several budding stars like French prodigy Victor Wembanyama, versatile Paolo Banchero, and shot-blocking phenom Chet Holmgren.

The format is straightforward: two semifinals determine the finalists, with Team Jalen facing off against Team Tamika and Team Detlef against Team Pau. The winners clash in the final, with the teams playing to 40 points in the semifinals and to 25 points in the final.

Can East Return to the Throne?

The weekend’s highlight is, without a doubt, the All-Star Game, where Eastern and Western Conference juggernauts lock horns. The game tips off at 2 am on February 19th CET.

However, not every fan can root for their favorites, as some notable stars failed to make the cut. Among them are the Sacramento Kings duo of Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young, and Houston Rockets leader Alperen Sengün.

Historically, the Eastern Conference has had the upper hand over their Western counterparts, boasting 37 wins to the West’s 29. But recent All-Star Games have seen the pendulum swing in favor of the West, winning the last three matchups.

More Than Just a Game

For Europeans, such showdowns are a rarity. Over the past year, there’s been talk about the EuroLeague needing its own version, potentially drawing more fans and revenue.

For NBA players, making the All-Star Game isn’t just about playing ball; it’s a badge of honor, especially for Americans. Additionally, many players have contract bonuses tied to making the All-Star team. For instance, reports suggest Sabonis stood to pocket a hefty $1.3 million from the Kings, or roughly €1.2 million. Not too shabby, huh?

Amidst All-Star Game rookies like Banchero, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Brunson, and Tyrese Maxey, one man stands out in Indianapolis—a living legend and perennial All-Star, James, making his 21st appearance. He only missed the All-Star Game in his rookie season, a testament to his enduring greatness.

James’ All-Star Game highlights:

“I’m humbled and very blessed, obviously,” James said. “I don’t take it for granted, being an All-Star. The fact that I still get to represent this franchise, one, my family — which is most important, my family name on the back of the jersey, that’s very important to me when it comes to acknowledgment and accolades and things of that nature — and also the fans, who’ve been down with me for the last two decades-plus.”

The NBA All-Star Game may not resemble a typical basketball clash, lacking in defense as players showcase their skills and aim to thrill fans with highlight-reel plays. While it might not suit every basketball aficionado’s taste, there’s no harm in that — they’re not the target audience, after all.


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