This year’s 3-point contest was extremely exciting to watch because we saw the first center in NBA history come out on top. Despite competing against a host of natural shooters including Luke Kennard and Trae Young, Towns was spectacular in the final round with a record 29 points. The only other big men to win the 3-point contest were Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love, both stars who occupied the power forward position.
Seeing a big man stroking the ball stimulated our imagination enough to draw up a legendary 3-point contest featuring all the greatest shooters ever. Even if Towns is an elite shooter for his size, he will not be one of the contestants for the competition. Rather, the only big man who will crack the top-10 list of all-time shooters will be Dirk Nowitzki. For the greatest 3-point contest ever, it is important to explain the rules.
Participants will attempt to make as many three-point shots as possible from five positions behind the three-point line in 70 seconds. Players begin shooting from one corner of the court, and move from station to station along the three-point arc until they reach the other corner. With five balls per rack situated at each station, four are worth one point and the fifth one (the money ball) is worth 2 points.
There is also one dedicated rack with 5 Moneyballs, meaning a player can come out with 10 points accumulated in a station. Not to mention, there are two spots on the court known as “three balls” which count for 3 points and are farther out from the original three-point line. In total, a player can get a maximum of 40 points during the contest while placing their Moneyball rack anywhere they want.
The contest will also feature 3 rounds: the first round, semifinal, and final. Only the top-4 contestants from the first round make it to the semifinal, and the last two standing battle it out for the victory. For the dream 3-point contest, only 10 of the greatest shooters ever will attend and will be filtered based on statistics and overall shooting skills.
Here are the 10 sharpshooter contestants: Stephen Curry, Larry Bird, Klay Thompson, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Kyle Korver
With such incredible shooters gearing up for the greatest contest ever, there can only be one winner. It will come down to the finest of margins for the winner, and here is how the entire contest plays out.
The first round will see all 10 legendary shooters getting their shots up. The first man up is Stephen Curry, the all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. Curry misses his first two shots in the corner but ends up making all his shots until he gets to the 4th station. After doing a strong job there, Steph finishes with 24 points as he heads to his Moneyball rack. Shockingly, Curry misses all but one of his Moneyballs, giving him a score of 26.
Next up is Hall of Famer Larry Bird, a man who plays no games when it comes to competition. Bird thoroughly enjoys Curry’s cold streak from the last corner and proceeds to drain all his Moneyballs to start the contest. That’s right, Bird has 10 quick points as he heads to his second station. Larry does well enough to tie Curry with one shot made in his final station before draining 4 / 5 shots (including the Moneyball) to take his tally to 31. In just the first round, Bird shatters the record for points in a 3-point contest.
Klay Thompson has a lot of eyes on him because fans want to know if he has what it takes to pass Curry or Bird. He goes cold midway through the contest, before proceeding to make all of his corner shots. In a strange mix of hot and cold shooting, Klay nails the Moneyball at the buzzer to give him 27 points - 1 ahead of Curry.
Ray Allen is next, and he comes awfully close to passing Curry to start. With the shooting guard stuck at 23 points, the pressure is on for the Hall of Famer to at least tie Curry’s amount of points. But the shooting guard fails to find the back of the net consistently until the Moneyball goes in with a second left to take his score to 25.
Perhaps the biggest rival to Stephen Curry and Ray Allen in terms of outside shooting skill, Reggie Miller is up next. A man known for clutch shooting and a deep-range deadeye, Reggie gets off to a tremendous start as he makes 4 / 5 of his Moneyballs from the edge of the arc. Miller then makes 10 straight shots, giving him a total of 22 points heading to the final rack. Reggie misses the first but nails 4 straight shots to give him a strong score of 27 which is tied with Klay Thompson.
Deep-range shooter Damian Lillard walks up next, and even if he is an all-time great marksman, he fails to surpass the top-4 leaders of Curry, Bird, Thompson, and Miller. Lillard struggles from the corners, failing to make a single basket. But he heats up from the top, making all his shots. Overall, a failure to make enough Moneyballs means Dame only ends up with 19 points.
An incredibly gifted scorer and shooter, Kevin Durant confidently steps up to the line for a chance to prove himself as a prolific outside shooter. He comes awfully close to equalling Stephen Curry but falls just short. The Slim Reaper gets hot from the three to start but cools down just enough to place him under pressure before heading to the final rack. Durant only has 19 points, meaning it is impossible for him to tie Curry. He still makes all his shots in the final rack, taking him to a score of 25 points.
Peja understands he needs at least 26 points to progress, and he confidently steps up to the plate. The legendary shooter has a whopping 24 points to start his final rack, giving people confidence he will knock Curry out of the contest. After all, he had the best start out of anyone so far. But he just cannot find the range, missing all his shots at the final rack which ends the contest for him at 24 points.
Hall of Fame big man Dirk Nowitzki is next, and he does not quite find the range. His stroke is certainly sweet, but he was unable to score a minimum of 26 points within the time limit. For some reason, Dirk cannot get enough shots up because stuck at 23 points, he has 3 balls left to shoot. But time expires as soon as his last make comes in, meaning his 23 points won’t be enough.
As it stands, Kyle Korver needs 26 points to tie Stephen Curry and at least 27 points to progress to the semifinal alongside Larry Bird, Klay Thompson, and Reggie Miller. Once again, Korver comes incredibly close but cannot make the final shot to take him over Steph. Korver has 25 points with the Moneyball in his hands, and it barely rims out, solidifying the Semifinal place for Steph.
Stephen Curry, Larry Bird, Klay Thompson, Reggie Miller
With an exhilarating Semifinal that saw 6 legendary shooters try to catch Stephen Curry’s score of 26, the all-time great point guard survives. We also saw an incredible performance by Larry Bird, the most confident player on the floor in the first round with his record-breaking 31 points.
The Semifinal commences, with the lowest-score Stephen Curry up next. The point guard relaxes his shoulders and proceeds to go on an incredible tear. He sets his Moneyball rack last and drains all of them to give him the second-highest score in 3-point Contest history, at 30 points. Steph knew his starts were slow in the contest, but he had enough faith to finish strong.
Klay Thompson opts to go next, and he sets his Moneyballs right in the corner. Klay fails to make all his Moneyballs, although he goes 4 / 5. But that puts enough pressure on the shooter because he fails to equal his score from the first round. Thompson goes cold at the top of the arc, going 1 / 5. But he makes enough to get him a strong score of 24 points. Will that be enough?
Reggie Miller goes next, and like Klay, sets his Moneyball rack at the corner. Miller makes all of them, giving him a chance to possibly compete with Steph Curry in the Final. But like Thompson, Miller goes cold from the top of the arc before nailing 3 / 5 of his final rack to give him a score of 25 points. With Reggie taking Klay out of the contest, all eyes are on Larry Bird.
Bird broke the record with 31 points in the first round, but he does not equal that score in his second showing. Rather, Bird looks relatively “normal” to start the second round. Bird once again gets the crowd on their feet, because he has 2 shots left in his final (non-Moneyball) rack at 23 points. Lary Legend nails the first and drains the Moneyball in the last second to pass Reggie Miller with 26 points.
The Final stage is set, and it comes down to the two record-breaking shooters: Stephen Curry and Larry Bird.
Stephen Curry vs. Larry Bird
All eyes are set on the greatest 3-point contest ever, and the most anticipated Final to date. Curry barely survived the first round with 26 points, before heating up to score a whopping 30 points in the semifinal. For Larry Bird, he broke the all-time record with 31 points in the first round and made a shot at the buzzer to barely get him in the Final. With such an incredible backstory, here is how both shooters perform.
Larry Bird starts off, showing a bit of fatigue. He misses 4 / 5 shots in the first station, but in typical fashion, drains every shot in his Moneyball rack. The Boston Celtics legend heats up, going off with multiple swishes before heading to the final rack. Bird makes 4 of his shots in the last rack, including another Moneyball make at the buzzer. Bird surpasses his Semifinal score with a total of 28 points, a very high score for Steph to overcome.
Curry managed 26 points in the first round, and it is very realistic that he will stick around that score in the Final. The point guard has Larry Bird talking trash to him on his way up and realizes that his legacy as the greatest sharpshooter ever could be on the line. Steph smiles, heads to his first station, and makes all his shots in the Moneyball rack. But Steph struggles from the top of the arc, failing to make a single shot. The Golden State Warriors star ends up in the final rack, with a great score of 23 points. To pass Larry Bird, he needs to make all of his shots in a span of 11 seconds. Steph swishes the first three, and his fourth one takes a massive bounce before dropping in. With his score at 27, Curry has the do-or-die shot to win the all-time great 3-point contest. Steph takes a split-second pause and drains the shot at the buzzer to scrape by a rampant Larry Bird.
With both superstars embracing the incredible marksmanship they showed, Steph beams with delight as he hoists the trophy above his head. In an incredible 3-point competition that saw a record-breaking performance by Larry Bird, Stephen Curry comes out on top over 9 elite shooters in a moment for the ages.
Final Result: Stephen Curry vs. Larry Bird 29-28