ORLANDO – At the time the field for last year’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest was announced, the Nets’ Anthony Morrow was a hair behind Steve Kerr, the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point percentage. Kerr had shot 45.403 percent from beyond the arc, and Morrow was at 45.398 percent when the six competitors were announced.
But Morrow was not on the list, the league passing on the possible chance of having the No. 1 3-point shooter in NBA history compete against the other No. 1 3-point shooter in NBA history (Ray Allen, who has the all-time mark for made threes), possibly because Morrow had missed a 17-game stretch in December and January of last season.
Right now, Morrow ranks fourth all-time in 3-point percentage, but this year, he got the invite. And yes, he was excited.
Nets rookie MarShon Brooks, who had already been selected to play in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, called Morrow when he heard the news.
“Rookie, we out here! We out here!” Morrow told Brooks, knowing that he would be joining the rookie and All-Star Deron Williams as part of the Nets’ contingent in Orlando.
“He just wanted his spot on the plane, and his spot in the weekend,” Brooks said.
Morrow also wanted the opportunity to pay tribute to the last Net to compete in the three-point shootout.
The first thing Morrow saw when he walked into the Nets practice facility after signing with the team before last season was the retired jersey of Drazen Petrovic, the Croatian trailblazer who was killed in a car accident in 1993. And when he saw the jersey, Morrow knew that he wanted to wear it if he ever competed in the shootout.
“If somebody got chosen for the dunk contest, you should want to wear Julius Erving‘s jersey, you know?,” Morrow said Friday. “There’s so much tradition in this [Nets] organization that, win or lose, they’re going to respect you for that.”
When Morrow told reporters his plan to honor Petrovic last week, he drew plenty of appreciation via twitter from fans in New Jersey and Croatia.
“Everybody was just going crazy,” he said. “Everybody loved the idea.”
Morrow’s affinity for Petrovic, who now stands right behind Morrow on the all-time list, goes beyond shooting. It’s also about passion, which was always on display when Petrovic played.
“They showed him on the jumbotron during a timeout. We were in the huddle and I was just looking at his highlights up there. He hit a shot, he would fist-pump and run down the court, getting the crowd hyped. That’s stuff that I love and I like to do. We should have fun playing this game, and that’s something that he definitely represented.”
All-time leaders, 3-point percentage
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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.