The NBA introduced the three-point shot at the start of the 1979-80 season. The rule was originally popularized by the ABA which folded after the 1975-76 season.
Four ABA teams were merged into the NBA, the New York Nets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets. At the time, NBA attendance and TV ratings were down and the three-point shot was seen as a way to add excitement to the game and increase revenues. It certainly worked.
Here is a look at the top four three-point shooters in NBA history. These rankings are based on statistics, longevity and reputation.
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4. Steve Nash
Nash enjoyed a lengthy NBA career playing 18 seasons with the Suns, Mavericks and Lakers from 1996-97 through 2013-14. He finished his career with a .428 three-point shooting percentage which was not too far below his overall shooting percentage of .490 from the floor.
Nash was best known for his passing and ability to distribute the ball, but he was also an outstanding outside shooter and often came up with clutch 3-point shots.
The eight-time All-Star enjoyed his best three-point shooting season in 2007-08 when he hit 47 percent from behindy the arc.
Nash was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
3. Ray Allen
For most of his career, Ray Allen was considered the premier outside shooter in the game. The former U Conn star finished his career with a 40 percent success rate from three-point land and always seemed to come up with a clutch basket when his team needed it.
Allen spent his 18-season NBA career with the Bucks, Supersonics, Celtics and Heat. He was selected to the NBA All-Star Game 10 times and won two NBA titles. He, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were among the first group of star players to join together as a “Big Three” and they brought an NBA title to Boston in 2008.
In 2018, Allen was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller was brash, talented and clutch. The Indiana Pacers star was an outstanding outside shooter who always seemed to save his best performances for big games, especially against the New York Knicks.
Miller got into some legendary verbal battles with film director Spike Lee, a Knicks season ticket holder and super fan. In the 1990s, the Knicks and Pacers battled in the playoffs and Lee and Miller went toe-to-toe verbally as well. Miller usually got the best of the Knicks and his battles with Lee were all in good fun.
The former UCLA star was a five-time NBA All-Star and finished his career with a .395 shooting percentage from three-point range.
Miller was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
1. Steph Curry
Curry has spent his entire NBA career with the Golden State Warriors and is considered by many the best pure shooter in the history of the league. His career three-point shooting percentage is an impressive .433 including a career-high .455 in 2011-12.
He keeps setting new records for three-point shots made in a regular season. In 2012-13, he made 272 shots from behind the arc but he broke that record in 2015 and again in 2016 when he hit on 402 shots in one year.
Curry is second all-time in three-point shots made and he isn’t done playing yet.
Curry is a two-time NBA MVP, a seven-time All Star and has won three NBA titles during his distinguished career. He is a lock for the Hall of Fame after he retires.
*The article was written by Gil Martin and edited by TalkBasket’s Chief Editor Yiannis Bouranis.