Steph vs. Sabrina, Kenny Smith’s misogynistic comments on telecast spark discussion

Last night theNBA All Star Saturday saw the introduction of a fourth challenge, an appendix to the Three-point Contest: Steph Curry vs. Sabrina Ionescu for the title of “World Best Shooter”. In fact, the two are considered, rather in unison, the best shooter in the NBA and the best shooter in the WNBA. Although it was initially decided that Ionescu would shoot from the WNBA three-point line (about half a meter closer than the NBA three-point line), the New York Liberty player eventually decided to make the challenge as fair as possible by also shooting from NBA distance: 7.24 meters. Sabrina still shot with the WNBA ball, which is smaller than the NBA ball.

Ionescu did very well, shooting first and making a score of 26, the same score that in the men’s tournament held just before was worth entry into the finals (Lillard later won with 28). Steph Curry did better, however, finishing with 29 and taking home the “belt,” the symbol of his victory. What caused some discussion, however, as the riveting challenge went on, was the commentary, particularly Kenny Smith’s words.

“I think she should have shot from the WNBA line so it would have been a fair challenge! I support Sabrina, but she should have shot from the line that the women shoot from.” Smith said, starting a discussion with Reggie Miller. The Pacers legend asked Smith why he wanted to put barriers on Ionescu: “It’s not about barriers, that’s the way the game is. They also have a smaller ball, right? He shot with the WNBA ball, but from the NBA line. There is a reason that in golf there is a tee [il “chiodo” sul quale viene appoggiata la pallina, ndr] for men and one for women.”.

The issue became even more ambiguous shortly thereafter, when Miller accused Smith of “wanting Sabrina to play with dolls.”, not too veiledly calling him a misogynist on live television. “No, I just want him to pull from where he usually pulls.” replied Smith, before Kevin Harlan stepped in and tried to put an end to the awkward little sip to introduce the Slam Dunk Contest. But not before Kenny Smith made another exit: “And there’s nothing wrong with playing with dolls anyway, you’re good at that too!”.

Kenny Smith’s words have not gone unnoticed, not least because the former Rockets player has been making some pretty wacky statements all evening. During the dunk contest, when Jaime Jaquez celebrated his Mexican origins by having the flag of Mexico and pictures of all the Mexican players who have played in the NBA appear on the LED-made parquet, Smith wondered, again live: “What does this Mexican stuff have to do with anything?”. Joel Embiid, who was following the All Star Saturday from home, wondered on X if he wasn’t drunk.

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