With Steph Curry, a player very much not on this list, passing Rick Barry as Golden State’s all-time leader in points tonight, it reminded me of Barry’s hilarious granny-style free throw shooting form.
This extremely unorthodox method is still to this day essentially unique to the now 72 year old coach the Ball Hogs of of the BIG3, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league (Other than old-school hall of famer George Mikan and probable future hall of famer Chinanu Onuaku). It might have looked hysterical, but it was pretty effective. Barry is a hall of fame 12 time all star who shot an immaculate 89.3% from the free throw line for his career. His shot which looks like something your old aunt Gertrude would attempt playing 21 in the driveway worked 5713 times for this original Warriors legend! Anyways, this got me to think about some of the other priceless free throw shooting forms that we have been graced to watch play at the highest level of basketball:
Shawn Marion’s shot seems like it ends halfway before a normal shot actually should. Not only that, but he flings it so suddenly like a slingshot or a medieval catapult but without the recoil. What makes Shawn Marion special even compared to Rick Barry is he used this extremely unconventional form even when shooting 3s, something he was actually quite good at in his 16 year career as a a 4-time all-star and the original stretch big before stretch bigs were really a thing in the NBA.
Wilt the Stilt’s accomplishments speak for themselves, pretty much every NBA fan knows about his 100 point game, 50.4 ppg & 25.7 rpg non-MVP winning season (Oscar Robertson finished 3rd while averaging a triple double that year while Wilt was the runner up, MVP sure was different back when the players voted for it) and countless other legendary accomplishments.
However, not as many people may know that he was not only a pretty bad free throw shooter, his 51.1% career percentage from the charity stripe is 7% worse than Shaq’s, but also a pretty funny one to watch in action. The way he carelessly but sort of agressively gets rid of the ball rather than actually shoot it reminds me of an awkward middle aged man tossing a ball back to some kids after their ball bounced into the street while he was walking his dog. It’s oddly nice and humanizing to see one of the true greatest to ever step on a basketball court have a flaw in his game that was so comical to watch in action.
Joakim Noah’s free throw form has many layers of hilarity so let me break it down for you one by one. The former defensive player of the year turned latest waste-of-cap-space-Knick starts off with a sit-squat reminiscent of a woodsman about to take a shit in the woods. Second, he starts his shot absurdly low, like literally at dick-level. Finally, he finishes it off by shooting the ball 2-handed like a 5 year old child. The difference is the child only does it because its 1 arm isn’t strong enough to push the ball on its own or because he’s simply uncoordinated and doesn’t have an athletic father-figure to teach him how to shoot a basketball. Noah’s reasons remain a mystery.
While the Swedish-French New Yorker actually used to be a pretty good free throw shooter especially for an all-defense center (69.9% for his career), things have fallen apart since he put on the blue and orange to play for the mecca of incompetent basketball that is the New York Knicks. In his first year as a Knick he shot a putrid 43.6% from the foul line. I guess the bright lights of the city that never sleeps now shining on his hilarious shot gave him amplified embarrassment thus affecting shot. Watching him now it’s hard to believe he was an multiple-time all-star and all-NBA player and one of the league’s premier defensive centers who finished 4th (!!) in MVP voting just 4 seasons ago.
Being the only player without at least 1 all-star selection, Ronnie Brewer is easily the most inconspicuous name on this list. In fact, if you go to his “leaderboards & Awards” section on basketball reference, you’ll see that his most notable accomplishment was being tied for the league-lead in games played during the 2011-2012 season. The funniest part of that “accomplishment”; it wasn’t even a full 82 game season! It was the lockout-shortened 66-game season. However, his foul shot might just be my personal favorite. The way he pauses at the very top of the arc of his shot as if there was some sort of glitch in the space-time continuum always made me laugh whenever I had the pleasure to witness a Ronnie Brewer free throw shot. But hey, who the hell am I to make fun of the former Jazz/Bulls/Knicks/Rockets/Thunder/Grizzlies legend, he had himself a pretty nice 8 year career raking in approximately $20 million dollars for playing a sport many of us love.