Like sparks, Suns guard Jason Richardson can fly and fire. He has abilities to soar for crowd-pleasing dunks and hit 3-point shots at an NBA-best level.
He wants to be the only NBA player who has done both the best when the NBA All-Star Game is in Phoenix next month.
"Hopefully I can be the first one to do it," Richardson said. "That shows a lot about my game, that I'm not just a dunker."
Only nine other NBA players have participated in All-Star weekend's slam-dunk and 3-point contests during their careers. Ray Allen is the only slam-dunk participant to win a 3-point contest. Brent Barry and Michael Jordan are the only slam-dunk winners to participate in a 3-point contest.
It would only seem appropriate for Richardson, the 2002 and 2003 slam-dunk champion and this year's NBA leader in 3-point accuracy, to be given that shot - or 15 shots out of racks - on his US Airways Center home floor this season. He has not participated in the 3-point contest, having developed his shooting as a pro to the point that he led the NBA last season in 3-pointers made with 243.
Richardson made a career-high 40.6 percent of his 3-pointers last season but bumped that to an NBA-best 48.5 clip this season. The Suns coaches don't get all the credit. He already was hitting 45.8 percent of his 3-pointers this season before Charlotte traded him to Phoenix, which is 6-2 since his arrival.
"I would definitely do it," Richardson said of the 3-point contest. "I haven't done it since high school. Jordan was the first one to do it (enter both contests). Hopefully I won't do it too bad like he did."
Michael Cooper actually was the first to do both, but Jordan, Richardson's former Charlotte Bobcats boss, did post the worst 3-point shootout score (five points) in event history.
Richardson could be the second Suns player to win an NBA season 3-point accuracy title. The other was Craig Hodges in 1988, when he also was a midseason acquisition.
"If I start paying attention to it, I'll start worrying about the percentage," Richardson said. "I'm not even worried about it. If I'm open, I'm going to shoot it."