We recently passed the 35th anniversary of the NBA 3-point contest, and boy have there been a lot of winners over the years. We have gotten the privilege of watching the competition every season with the exception of the 1998-99 year due to the NBA Lockout. However, not many know who has actually been the most successful in the competition.
Who Has Won the Most NBA 3-Point Contests? There is actually a two-way tie for the most NBA 3-point contest trophies over the last few decades. Larry Bird won the first one back in 1986 and went on to win two more to boast three victories. Craig Hodges, former Chicago Bulls shooting guard, ties Bird at the top of the leaderboard with three of his own. Those three happened to be in consecutive seasons as well if you were wondering.
Just hearing the winners doesn’t give you the entire story. There are a few factors that could determine who gets invited and who can dominate multiple seasons in a row. Let’s take a deeper look into this and find out how they performed and who happens to be close to them at the top of the charts!
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Bird and Hodges Were Unstoppable
Bird was always known as one of the best shooters of his generation and has even been considered one of the best of all-time. He showed that during 1986, then again in 1987, and finally in 1988. That’s right, all three of his three-point competition victories came in consecutive seasons. The same story was for Hodges, which we briefly talked about earlier.
The only difference between these two players was that Hodges set and I believe still holds the record for most three pointers made in one round along with the most consecutive shots made. During the 1986 competition, the one that Bird won, Hodges sank 21 out of 25 shots in the first round to advance. Then fast forward a couple of years to 1991, and Hodges made another record, sinking 19 straight shots to help net himself the victory in the competition.
Who Has Come Close to winning the Most NBA 3 Point Contests?
There are currently five players in NBA history that find themselves right behind Bird and Hodges in the list, all of them tied with two wins. Mark Price, a player on the Cleveland Cavaliers, was able to win the two years after Hodges dominant streak. He won the competition in 1993 and 1994. Jeff Hornacek of the Utah Jazz took over in 1998 and then again in 2000 to tie up Price. The Sacramento Kings got themselves a sharpshooter when Peja Stojakovic claimed the 2002 and the 2003 3-point contest trophy.
The fourth player was Jason Kapono of the Toronto Raptors, another player winning in consecutive seasons with wins in 2007 and 2008. Then finally, we have Steph Curry, the only active player on this list right now. He won the contest in 2015 then competed again in 2021 and stomped on the competition to win a second.
What Teams Have the Most Winners in the 3 point contest?
There are three teams that are tied at the top of the list. The Miami Heat have had four winners throughout their team’s history. Glen Rice grabbed the award in 1995 for them, being the first to win it in their franchise’s history. Then Jason Kapono grabbed one in 2007 before leaving and doing it again with the Raptors the season after. Daequan Cook claimed it in 2009 and James Jones did it in 2011.
The Boston Celtics happen to be tied with the Heat which isn’t really much of a surprise considering Larry Bird has three titles for this event. The only other player in Boston history to win the 3-point contest has been Paul Pierce, when he did it in 2010. Unsurprisingly, the Chicago Bulls are the final team tied for the top of this list. Craigh Hodges took three of their four wins, with the now Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr winning the fourth one in 1997.
Who Could Find Themselves with Two or More Wins at the End of this Current NBA Season?
There are a few players that should be in contention for the upcoming competition. Obviously, players have to perform well enough in order to get invited to compete in this event, but once they get in they have to be above and beyond to win another trophy. Steph Curry is the easy choice for this category right now. Both he and his Warriors are playing outstanding basketball and with his shooting capabilities there is no worry that he won’t be invited. However, he may end up declining the invitation if something were to come up.
The next in line would be Devin Booker. Booker won the award with the Phoenix Suns in 2018 and has been looking for another one since then. He has always been a great shooter from behind the arc, actually scoring the greatest number of points in the final round in history. Granted the scoring system was a little different than when Hodges did it all those years ago which is why they are different statistics. Nevertheless, Booker has been waiting for an opportunity to claim another invitation and grab a second trophy. With the way that the Suns have been playing the last two seasons, it’s hard to imagine him not getting another opportunity to win it again.
Finally, we have Joe Harris. Admittedly, this is a bit of a longshot. He was horrible shooting the ball in the postseason last year and hasn’t had a terrific start to his current season. Although, his reputation as a three-point sharpshooter may be enough to warrant an invitation. He already won back in 2019 with the Brooklyn Nets, and could easily reclaim his position at the top if given the opportunity. If you want a wild card added onto those three, keep an eye on Buddy Hield. He won back in 2020 and could win again, the only problem is that he hasn’t been playing great lately and may not be invited.