Why Does The NBA Three Point Contest Suck Now?

3 point contest
Why Doesn’t The NBA Three Point Contest Feature Pure Shooters Anymore?

Would anyone even notice if the Three Point Contest was replaced by an off-hand layup drill?

Does anyone really believe Daequan Cook or Paul Pierce are potentially the best three point shooters in league history?

The quality of play/effort level of the NBA All Star Game has declined in recent years. 

Did you know Jason Kapono won the NBA Three Point Contest title in back to back years? The only reason I did is because I Wikipedia-ed it.

If you answered “no” to any of these questions like I did, then you are as desensitized by the Three Point Contest as I am. Which is very sad because I used to love it.

I remember back in the day, i.e. 1993-94, when Zima and silk boxers were king.

I was sitting in front of my VCR, my finger primed and ready to hit the “record” button as soon as the commercials ended. It was akin to trying to “tape” your favorite song on the radio without the DJ cutting in prior to the end to say something snarky.

The other hurdle was having to hold down the “Tracking” button to get the screen cleared up properly.

And though Tracking was a fickle mistress, I gladly endured her swift and irregular mood changes.

And why was I doing this? To “tape” Mark Price reigning three’s like a robot, on his way to winning back to back NBA Three Point Contest titles in 1993 and 1994.

Or to watch Craig Hodges try to win his fourth title when he wasn’t even on an NBA roster and had to wear some weird uniform with the word “NBA” plastered where a team name should’ve been.

From 1986 to about 2000 the Three point contest was won by some of the purest shooters the game has ever seen; Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Mark Price, Steve Kerr and Jeff Hornacek to name a few.

After 2000 the field and style of competitors changed. Guys who weren’t known as three point shooters began getting introduced to the mix.

Some were because of name and what I’m guessing was an attempt to attract viewers with star power. But many of them were true head scratchers.

Guys like Jason Terry, David Wesley, Pat Garrity, Cuttino Mobley, Richard Hamilton, guys who barely shot three’s in games at all. What happened to the George McCloud’s or Tracey Murray’s or Hubert Davis-essss?

Another beef I have is the endless format changes. In the 2022 Three Point Shootout, why:

  • Why do I need a Mountain Dew Money Ball Rack?
  • Why does the three point contest start with a field of 8 competitors, then immediately go to a final round of 3?
  • Why don’t the guys shoot head to head and compete against each other anymore?
  • Why are there referees and video replays during it? We aren’t effing idiots, I can tell when a shot is good based on the HUMONGOUS red lights built into the glass backboard!

The 3 point contest has always been second banana to the NBA slam dunk contest and that’s fine. But can the Three Point Shootout at least get treated with some respect?

Is it not hyped because the league has changed so much that pure three point shooters just aren’t that important anymore in today’s league where everyone is a slasher looking to drive to the basket?

Would Jim Les make an NBA roster in 2011? Would Craig Ehlo? Would Dana Barros?

I think they would because if anything, the allowance of zone defense increases the need for three point specialists.

Can Eddie House be in it this year, NBA? Or a guy like Shawne Williams who shoots threes 11% better than he does twos?

Tonight, Three Point Contest, I’m going to go home, put on some Zubaz pants, drink some Crystal Pepsi and watch AirWolf on Netflix until the entire stash is exhausted.

You know, just like the good old days, when you were still relevant. You’ll always be relevant to me, baby. I mean that.

List of Three Point Contest Winners via Wikipedia:

SeasonLocationPlayerTeamFinal score / max
1985–86Dallas, Texas Larry Bird*Boston Celtics23 / 30
1986–87Seattle, Washington Larry Bird* (2)Boston Celtics (2)16 / 30
1987–88Chicago, Illinois Larry Bird* (3)Boston Celtics (3)17 / 30
1988–89Houston, Texas Dale EllisSeattle SuperSonics19 / 30
1989–90Miami, Florida Craig HodgesChicago Bulls19 / 30
1990–91Charlotte, North Carolina Craig Hodges (2)Chicago Bulls (2)17 / 30
1991–92Orlando, Florida Craig Hodges (3)Chicago Bulls (3)16 / 30
1992–93Salt Lake City, Utah Mark PriceCleveland Cavaliers18 / 30
1993–94Minneapolis, MinnesotaMark Price (2)Cleveland Cavaliers (2)24 / 30
1994–95Phoenix, Arizona Glen RiceMiami Heat17 / 30
1995–96San Antonio, TexasTim LeglerWashington Bullets20 / 30
1996–97Cleveland, Ohio Steve KerrChicago Bulls (4)22 / 30
1997–98New York City, New York Jeff HornacekUtah Jazz16 / 30
1998–99[a]Canceled due to the 1998–99 NBA lockout[a]
1999–00Oakland, California Jeff Hornacek (2)Utah Jazz (2)13 / 30
2000–01Washington, D.C. Ray Allen*Milwaukee Bucks19 / 30
2001–02Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Peja StojakovićSacramento Kings19 / 30[b]
2002–03Atlanta, Georgia Peja Stojaković (2)Sacramento Kings (2)22 / 30[b]
2003–04Los Angeles, California Voshon LenardDenver Nuggets18 / 30
2004–05Denver, Colorado Quentin RichardsonPhoenix Suns19 / 30
2005–06Houston, Texas (2) Dirk NowitzkiDallas Mavericks18 / 30
2006–07[11]Las Vegas, Nevada Jason KaponoMiami Heat (2)24 / 30
2007–08[1]New Orleans, Louisiana Jason Kapono (2)Toronto Raptors25 / 30
2008–09Phoenix, Arizona (2) Daequan CookMiami Heat (3)19 / 30[b]
2009–10Dallas, Texas (2) Paul Pierce*Boston Celtics (4)20 / 30
2010–11Los Angeles, California (2) James JonesMiami Heat (4)20 / 30
2011–12Orlando, Florida (2) Kevin Love^Minnesota Timberwolves17 / 30[b]
2012–13Houston, Texas (3) Kyrie Irving^Cleveland Cavaliers (3)23 / 30
2013–14New Orleans, Louisiana (2) Marco BelinelliSan Antonio Spurs24[b] / 34[c]
2014–15Brooklyn, New York (2) Stephen Curry^Golden State Warriors27 / 34[c]
2015–16Toronto, OntarioKlay Thompson^Golden State Warriors (2)27 / 34[c]
2016–17New Orleans, Louisiana (3) Eric Gordon^Houston Rockets21[b] / 34[c]
2017–18Los Angeles, California (3) Devin Booker^Phoenix Suns (2)28 / 34[c]
2018–19Charlotte, North Carolina (2) Joe Harris^Brooklyn Nets26 / 34[c]
2019–20Chicago, Illinois (2) Buddy Hield^Sacramento Kings (3)27 / 40[c][d]
2020–21Atlanta, Georgia (2) Stephen Curry^ (2)Golden State Warriors (3)28 / 40[c][d]
2021–22Cleveland, Ohio (2)Karl-Anthony Towns^Minnesota Timberwolves (2)29 / 40[c][d]

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I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer club President, and former team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.