Stephen Curry of Golden State and Sabrina Ionescu of the...

Stephen Curry of Golden State and Sabrina Ionescu of the Liberty pose for a photo after their three-point challenge during the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Credit: Getty Images/Stacy Revere

INDIANAPOLIS — Sabrina Ionescu didn’t enter Lucas Oil Stadium on a feather-covered throne the way Billie Jean King did 50 years ago.

And Stephen Curry didn’t dismiss her with sexist comments about women belonging in the kitchen.

Rather, this modern-day Battle of the Sexes was more about competition than spectacle as Curry, the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history, outscored Ionescu, 29-26, to win their three-point shootout Saturday night.

Curry and Ionescu, who are friends through their Bay Area ties, hugged at the end of the competition, which was the first to feature a WNBA player competing against an NBA player at an All-Star Game.

Both said the aim of the competition was to inspire young girls and boys and to bring more attention to the women’s game.

“It was amazing just to be a part of this first-of-its-kind event,” the Liberty guard said. “I’m excited to change the narrative and do it alongside the greatest to ever do it.’’

Curry is the NBA career leader in three-pointers and a future Hall of Famer, but Ionescu gave him a good battle.  “I hope this shows young girls and boys that if you can shoot, you can shoot,” she said. 

It was the players themselves who came up with the idea after Ionescu won the WNBA All-Star three-point contest with a record 37-point final round.

The contest originally was designed for Ionescu to shoot from the WNBA three-point line of 22 feet, 1.75 inches while Curry used the NBA line of 23 feet, 9 inches. Ionescu announced several days before the contest that she would be using the men’s line. She did, however, use the WNBA ball, the circumference of which is one inch smaller than the men’s ball of 28.5 inches.

The addition of the “Steph vs. Sabrina’’ competition this year drew so much interest that NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before the game that he might be open to adding more integration of WNBA players to All-Star Weekend.

“I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, but me and Sabrina talked about how cool of an opportunity it is to do something that’s never been done before in our game,” Curry said earlier in the day. “And for her to have a presence on this stage is going to do a lot to inspire the next generation of young boys that want to compete and see themselves in either one of us.”

Brunson falls short

Jalen Brunson’s bid to become the first Knick ever to win the three-point contest ended early as he fell one basket short of making the finals of the event.

Brunson finished with a score of 24 but needed to shoot 26 to avoid elimination. Brunson, who also is representing the Knicks as a reserve in the All-Star Game, said it was hard to adjust to the depth perception of playing in a giant stadium.

“At least I beat Julius,” said Brunson, referring to the fact that Knicks teammate Julius Randle scored only 13 points in the three-point competition last year.

The Bucks’ Damian Lillard won the competition, becoming the first player in 16 years to win back-to-back three-point crowns. In the finals of the competition, Lillard missed four straight shots from the right corner before hitting the final one to win the competition.

McClung again dunk star

Mac McClung repeated as the Slam Dunk champion.

The Knicks’ Jacob Toppin was eliminated in the first round of the competition. Obi Toppin, Jacob’s older brother, won the event in 2022.

Jacob actually used Obi in his first dunk of the night as he jumped over the 6-9 forward to complete a reverse slam.

Team Pacers wins skills

Team Pacers thrilled the hometown crowd by winning the skills competition. Tyrese Halliburton, the top vote-getter among All-Star guards, clinched the victory by draining a shot for Team Pacers.



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