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Big Day for NBA Alternates and Throwbacks

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It’s a big . . . → Read More: Big Day for NBA Alternates and Throwbacks

Virginia Tech Unveils

By John Ekdahl

In May, Virginia Tech Athletic director Whit Babcock had hinted that “Battle at Bristol” uniforms might be on the way.

AB: Is there a special Battle at Bristol jersey? Is that what you’re referring to? WB: We’re hoping to wear something that maybe people haven’t seen but it’s not crazy. . . . → Read More: Virginia Tech Unveils “Battle at Bristol” Uniforms

Los Angeles Clippers Move to L.A.

By Mike Chamernik

An NBA team may have just pulled off the subtlest name change we’ve ever seen.

The Los Angeles Clippers not only changed their name, but they did it a year ago. No one has seemed to notice. Yes, they are still known as the Clippers. The L.A. Clippers.

L.A.

As in, that’s their location name. Not just an abbreviation. (Continue reading)

Is the Underhand Free Throw Unaesthetic?

On Saturday the Tugboat Captain and I drove to the north shore of Long Island so she could show me her hometown. (Fun fact: For several years her next-door neighbor — at least on weekends — was William Shea, the namesake of Shea Stadium. One time she even went trick-or-treating at his house for Halloween.) On the drive there, we listened to the new epside of This American Life, which turned out to be largely about Wilt Chamberlain and underhand free throws.

Quick background: Everyone knows Rick Barry did his free throws underhand, but you might not realize that Chamberlain did it as well, at least early in his career. On the night of his famous 100-point game in 1962, he made 28 free throws (still a single-game record) — all of them underhand. He was a very good free throw shooter when he used the underhand style, but he didn’t stick with it. Instead, he reverted to the conventional overhand shot — and was, for most of his career, a brutal shooter from the charity stripe.

The This American Life episode is all about people who make bad choices even when they know better, and the poster child they present for this phenomenon is Chamberlain, who stuck with the overhand shot even though he knew he was much better with the underhand style. At one point the segment’s narrator — the writer Malcolm Gladwell (who, aside from writing bestselling books like The Tipping Point, happens to be a big basketball fan) — quotes from Chamberlain’s autobiography, written in the 1970s, as follows: (Continue reading)