By: Mike Sullivan
Rick Barry is the 3rd best free throw shooter in NBA history with a percentage just shy of 90 percent. He is notoriously known for shooting his free throws underhanded.
I spoke to Rick yesterday about a lot of different things including the Pistons, Adam Silver, Paul George’s injury, and the current state of the NBA.
However, the first thing I felt like I had to ask him about was his free throws. Simply put, no one shoots their free throws underhanded nowadays and nobody really has in NBA history besides Rick Barry.
Shooting free throws underhanded, or “granny style” is considered to be a method strictly for girls. Rick Barry, on the other hand, thinks the exact opposite.
“I told my dad, when he first tried to teach me (to shoot underhanded), that I’d get made fun of because only girls shoot that way. Well, girls don’t shoot like that anymore. What’s the big deal if you do something that’s a little out of the ordinary if it’s successful for you?”
I agree with him. I think there are a lot of basketball players today that could benefit from shooting underhanded like Barry did. I’m under the assumption that guys don’t want to shoot it like this because it’s unorthodox and they’d get made fun of for it. It’s a pride thing.
When I asked Rick for his thoughts on why players refuse to give it a try, he had this to say:
“It really is quite perplexing to me as to why someone really doesn’t want to try to shoot that way. Certainly there are a bunch of guys out there that would be much better shooting it that way as opposed to shooting the abysmal percentages that they shoot.”
He’s right. Some players are so bad at the stripe, I often wonder why they don’t just give the underhand technique a try especially considering that this is how the third best free throw shooter in NBA history did it.
Heck, if you can just boost your free throw percentage by 10-20 percent, it will go a long way, not only for your stat book, but it will undoubtedly help your team win a few more games as well.
For the record, I don’t expect players to try this. Like I mentioned before, it’s a pride and egotistical type thing. Shooting free throws underhanded is very unorthodox and out of the norm. I certainly do believe that some players should give it a try, but I don’t anticipate it happening.
Do you think some players should try shooting free throws underhanded? Have you ever tried this method?