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)

Mmmmm, Draaaffft

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The NBA Draft was yesterday, so the Timberwolves’ office marked the occasion with prospect jersey cookies. If you click on the photo to access the larger version, you’ll see that they did a pretty amazing job of including makers’ marks, conference logos, patches, etc. — impressive! My compliments to the baker.

(Thanks to T-Wolves group events program supervisor Jared Hensch for the photo.) (Continue reading)

Sacramento Kings Unveil New Uniforms

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The Kings unveiled their new set yesterday. The four new designs, some of which had already been seen via video game leaks and team teasers, can be seen above.

So what do I think? The short version is that I think this set moves the Kings from the bottom of the pack to somewhere in the middle; the longer version can be found in this ESPN piece, which went up yesterday afternoon. You can also get more info on this interactive page. And here are some additional photos (if you can’t see the slideshow below, click here): (Continue reading)

Sleeves Finally Make It to NBA Finals

History was made last night, as the Cavaliers wore their BFBS sleeved jerseys for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. It marked the first time a sleeved design has been worn in the Finals. Ironically, the Cavs did this while facing the Warriors, who started the modern NBA sleeve trend in 2013 but have never gone sleeved in the Finals themselves. (Continue reading)