Kenny Smith Issued Useless Non-Apology For Sabrina Ionescu Comments At All-Star Weekend


Kenny Smith, a former NBA player and current TNT sports commentator, has sparked controversy for his comments on Sabrina Ionescu, the WNBA star who competed against Stephen Curry in a 3-point challenge during the 2024 NBA All-Star weekend.

Ionescu, who plays for the New York Liberty, scored 26 points in the friendly shootout, matching the scores of Damian Lillard, Trae Young and Karl-Anthony Towns in the 3-Point Contest that preceded the challenge. However, Smith suggested that Ionescu should have shot from the WNBA 3-point line, which is about 1.25 feet shorter than the NBA’s, to make the contest fair.


“She should have shot it from the women’s line,” Smith said. “That would have been a fair contest. I still root for Sabrina, I still root for Sabrina. We all are rooting for Sabrina. She should have shot from the 3-point line that the women shoot from.”


His co-commentator Reggie Miller, a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, disagreed with Smith and defended Ionescu, saying,


“Why are you putting boundaries on her?” and “Good job, Sabrina! Don’t let any man put boundaries on you like Kenny.”


Not only Miller criticized Smith, as his remarks were met with criticism and ridicule on social media, with many users accusing him of being sexist, condescending and ignorant. Even the reigning MVP Joel Embiid chimed in, writing on X (formerly known as Twitter), “Kenny smith been drinking lmao.”

Ionescu, who is widely regarded as one of the best players in women’s basketball. She has previously stated that she wants to be recognized for her skills and achievements, not her gender.


“I don’t want to be known as the best female basketball player. I want to be the best basketball player, period,” Ionescu said in a 2019 interview with ESPN.


Smith now tried to clarifiy his comments on The Stephen A. Smith Show, saying that he was not disrespecting Ionescu, but rather advocating for her, as he felt that Curry had an advantage by shooting from his usual line.


“I think it’s much ado about nothing, Stephen. Most people who know basketball understood what I was talking about. Actually, I was advocating for her, more than anything else, because basketball is muscle memory. So he practices from one range, she practices from another,” Smith said.


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