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NBA broadcaster pushes back on criticism over Sabrina Ionescu remarks, says it has nothing to do about gender

NBA broadcaster Kenny Smith pushed back on criticism he received over the comments he made about Sabrina Ionescu shooting from the NBA line against Steph Curry.

NBA broadcaster Kenny Smith pushed back on criticism he received for remarks he made during a 3-point shooting contest between basketball stars Stephen Curry and Sabrina Ionescu over the weekend.

Smith was labeled a "clown" and "condescending" for saying the WNBA star should shoot from the WNBA line as she had to step up to NBA range to take on the Golden State Warriors sharpshooter in the All-Star Weekend event. Ionescu was shooting with a WNBA basketball, which is smaller than the NBA ball.


The two-time NBA champion appeared on "The Stephen A. Smith Show" on Monday and told the ESPN pundit that his remarks had nothing to do about gender but rather advantage.

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

"There was even a study with somebody throwing darts and if you move him out one step, his accuracy changes dramatically. But the funny thing about it is if you move him in one step, his accuracy changes — because you take so many shots from the exact same thing.

"So, I’m like, why is he getting the advantage to shoot at his line — that’s an advantage. It’s not gender, it’s not genetic, it’s an advantage. Shooting is only muscle memory. People who don’t play the sport don’t understand it. It’s all muscle memory."


Smith elaborated on Miller’s dolls comment as well, saying why shouldn’t anyone be allowed to play with dolls and play sports too.

"Most people don’t check the tape, they just wanna check the bait," he said, adding that a college basketball player would also be at a disadvantage to an NBA player in the same scenario.

As Curry edged Ionescu 29-26, the competition raised money for each of their foundations. While the competition was fierce, they both left with smiles on their faces.

"I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, but me and Sabrina talked about how cool of an opportunity it is to do something that’s never been done before in our game," Curry said.

"And for her to have a presence on this stage is going to do a lot to inspire the next generation of young boys and girls that want to compete and see themselves in either one of us. Wherever it goes from there, we know we can kind of plant our flag as doing something really special."

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