Free Throw Embarrassment: Basketball Charity Isn't Always Easy
DeAndre Jordan’s bricked free throw versus the Lakers last Thursday night caused the following reactions from current and former members of the Wizards:
The worse free throw EVER
— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) February 15, 2013
D’Andre Jordan free throw he just missed might be Top 5 worst free throw miss EVER in NBA history #SMH
— Earl Barron (@earldee) February 15, 2013
Here is Okam’s futile attempt:
Before the Wizards lost to the Lakers at home on December 14, I happened to ask both Booker and Earl Barron their thoughts on Okam’s free throw.
Barron, surprisingly a career 73 percent free throw shooter, was initially unaware of the infamous shot burning up the series of tubes we know as the Internet.
“Wow, that is crazy,” exclaimed Barron after looking it up on his cell phone. “That is definitely the worst free throw ever.”
Booker had a similar reaction of incredulous disbelief. “Worst free throw ever—I have no idea what happened, wow,” he responded. “He could have missed to the left or to the right, it still wouldn’t have been worse than that.”
I inquired both players to recall their own personal worst free throw experiences.
“I am not sure, probably just hitting the back board real hard,” said Booker, who is shooting 63 percent at the charity stripe for his career. Barron knew exactly where it was: “I have shot an air ball before and guys talk, laugh … I shot one in a game before, it was in Dallas when I was with Miami.”
Barron provided reasons for the public embarrassment. “It happens, the ball slips sometimes,” he said. “Most of the times, when you first check into the game, you haven’t really touched the ball yet. You get fouled, you get to the line. It is like, ‘damn, I have not even [warmed up],’ especially if you are someone that comes off the bench. If you are a starter, I don’t know, that is a different story.”
While Booker had a hazy memory on details of his own air ball, his recollection of another NBA player was vivid. “The worst free throw that I have ever seen besides that one is my homeboy, DeSagana Diop, in Charlotte last year. Oh, my goodness,” chuckled Booker. “He shot the ball, and it probably went halfway to the goal. It was pretty bad.”
Below is video of Diop’s free throw, and Booker’s assessment is spot on:
I wanted to know their thoughts on if an NBA player would ever shoot free throws underhanded again.
“I don’t think so. You just work up a routine as a child. Shooting on a hoop. Nobody will get to the point of getting comfortable to throw it that way,” said Barron.
“Not these days,” said Booker, “Maybe back in the day, old school, but nowadays, no.”
What type of reaction would an NBA player get if he went the underhanded route? Booker answered: “It would be on the news for awhile until everyone got used to it. Then it would probably take a couple years.”
Due to their facial reactions, the videos of these interviews are highly entertaining. Let’s watch…
- Trevor Booker: 2013-14 Washington Wizards Player Review
- TAI 5-on-5: The Wizards of the Past, Present, and Future
- Playoffs D.C. Council Game 2: Wizards 82 at Pacers 86: Wiz Kids Drown in Hero Ball While Hibbert Bails Out Indy’s Boat
- Playoffs D.C. Council Game 1: Wizards 102 at Pacers 96: Ariza and Beal Fire Their Engines, Exhaust Pacers