By Greg Heakes
Somebody forgot to tell Stephen Curry that the three-point contest was Saturday as the Golden State Warriors superstar put on a shooting clinic to lead Team LeBron to victory in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
LeBron James sank the game-winning basket as his side edged Team Durant 163-160, giving James his fifth straight all-star win as team captain.
But Curry was the brightest shooting star, winning the MVP award with a 50-point performance that included a record 16 threes in front of a crowd of 19,400 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
He finished just two shy of Anthony Davis’ single-game scoring record of 52 points but shattered Paul George’s previous record of nine threes in 2016.
“I tried, I tried,” said Curry of flirting with the single-game scoring record, held by Los Angeles Lakers’ Davis who scored 52 points in 2017.
“When I get going the energy picks up. It is pretty special being back in Ohio.
“Obviously this trophy has very special meaning. I am very humbled, very blessed and I appreciate it.”
The All-Star Game was preceded by the three-point shooting contest on Saturday, a competition Curry won in 2021 in Chicago. Karl-Anthony Towns won this year’s contest, which Curry did not enter.
Curry was booed during the introductions because of the three titles he won over the Cleveland Cavaliers with the Warriors.
Ohio-born local hero James nailed the winning shot with a fadeaway jumper to elevate Team LeBron to the target score of 163.
“I could not have dreamed of that moment, any better than the actuality that just happened,” James said.
The 37-year-old was playing in his 18th all-star game, which ties him with the late Kobe Bryant and moves him to one shy of the record held by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
James was one of two captains, the other being Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who did not attend the game due to the death earlier Sunday of his grandmother.
Memphis Grizzlies rising star Ja Morant scored six points and was one of seven players making their all-star debut.
The other first-time all-stars were the Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball, Cleveland Cavaliers duo Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland, the Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins, the San Antonio Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and the Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet.
During Saturday’s halftime, the league honored the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team with players from every decade of the league’s existence in attendance for the diamond anniversary.
The 76 players who made up the anniversary team — including six 2022 all-stars — have combined for 736 all-star selections.
“I was like a kid in a candy store just watching all the greats, all the legends,” said Curry of meeting his boyhood heroes. “That helped me in the third quarter because I just let loose and had fun.
“You walk around talking to the best of the best, it brings out the best in you.”
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoyed chatting with the hall of famers, including the legendary Michael Jordan for the first time.
“I just went up to introduce myself to him,” Antetokounmpo said. “I was kind of surprised he knew who I was… No, I’m joking.”
James also embraced shaking hands post-game with Jordan.
“I did not want to lose the opportunity to shake the man’s hand that inspired me throughout my childhood,” James said. “It’s crazy that the game-winning shot tonight was a fadeaway, and it was inspired by MJ.