The modern NBA is defined by volume 3-point shooters, and what better way to showcase that than by pitting the best of the bunch together to see who emerges victorious?
That’ll be the case in the 2023 NBA 3-point contest during All-Star weekend. Eight players will go at it to see who can make the most 3-pointers in two rounds to take home the crown.
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Julius Randle (New York Knicks), Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield (Indiana Pacers), Tyler Herro (Miami Heat), Kevin Huerter (Sacramento Kings) and Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz) are the field of participants.
Ahead of the 2023 event, let’s flip back through history to revisit some memorable 3-point performances in chronological order:
Larry Bird in the warm-up jacket, 1988
Boston Celtics icon Larry Bird infamously won the first three editions of the competition beginning in the 1985-86 campaign, but he’s most remembered for what happened in Chicago Stadium in 1987-88.
Looking to make it a three-peat, Bird went at it against Dale Ellis in the final round – while sporting his Celtics warm-up jacket.
He struggled early on, but picked up momentum late to tie Ellis’ 15 points going into the final money ball. As the shot released, Bird put up his index finger signaling he was No. 1 as the ball swished through the net. It doesn’t get much more poetic than that.
Craig Hodges makes 19 shots in a row, 1991
Like Bird, Chicago Bulls guard Craig Hodges also won three consecutive 3-point contests from 1990-1992. The most memorable came in the middle in 1991.
The 6-foot-2 guard drilled 19 threes in a row, which is a record that still stands today. He also owns the record for most shots made in one round, going 21-for-25.
Mark Price logs highest final score of the ‘90s, 1994
Mark Price was simply cash money in 1994. The Cleveland Cavaliers guard cruised to victory in 1994, a year after defending his throne from the 1993 win.
His final round score of 24 points out of a possible 30 breezed by his opponent, Dana Barros, who mustered just 13. Price also cashed in 20 of his first 22 attempts.
Jason Kapono tops Price’s record, 2008
Jason Kapono’s primary skill always came from behind the 3-point line. He played from 2003-2012 and could be considered a high-volume shooter for those times, finishing his career with a 43.4 3-point percentage on an average of 2.1 attempts a game in minor minutes.
That showed when he put up 24 points in the final round in 2007 to win the event, then topped it with 25 a year later. The Toronto Raptors forward surely exhibited his claws in that sharpshooting display.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson equal each other’s total, 2015 and 2016
The Splash Brothers have lived up to their nickname in more ways than one. This instance stems from back-to-back contests in 2015 and 2016. Curry took home the award in 2015 when he recorded 27 out of a possible 34 points in the revamped format that was initiated in 2013-14. He made 13 straight 3s, second in competition history behind Hodges.
A year later, Klay matched Curry’s points total with 27. They’re two of the best shooters in league history for a reason.
Devin Booker scores record 28 points, 2018
Devin Booker then one upped the Splash Bros by one point in 2018. The Phoenix Suns guard optimized the new money ball rack to perfection, making four of five from the right corner to boost his total to 28 out of a possible 34 to take home the crown.
He shot 20-for-25 in the final round in what also foreshadowed his ascension to the popular figure he is today.
Stephen Curry edges Mike Conley Jr. twice in record fashion, 2021
“Anything you can do, I can do better” – Curry to Mike Conley Jr., probably.
The 2021 contest certainly delivered for Curry, who had to come from behind twice to defeat Conley. In the first round of the new 40-point format, Conley dropped 28 points. Curry then poured in 31.
In the final round, Conley reclaimed the lead with a 27-point performance. Curry then beat him again, this time on the last shot.
Karl-Anthony Towns revitalizes the center position, 2022
Who says big men can’t compete in 3-point contests?
Karl-Anthony Towns definitely had a say. The Minnesota Timberwolves center is the most recent 3-point champion, and he achieved it in tremendous style.
Towns dropped 29 points in the final round and very well could’ve leaped the 30 mark with his unique set shot. With the win, he became the first and only center to win the contest.