The art of the free throw in basketball is quite interesting. While some may say it is the easiest shot you could take and practice, many NBA players struggle shooting them. In fact, the average high school basketball player could probably shoot free throws at a 60% clip, which is higher than many NBA superstars including Shaquille O’Neal. This is more evident when in 1993, Tom Amberry, a podiatrist, sank 2750 consecutive free throws only to stop because the janitors had to close the gym.
Amberry isn’t exactly the average recreational player, however, after college, he received a contract to play for the Minneapolis Lakers but turned it down to go to med school. After he retired in 1991, Amberry decided to continue playing basketball recreationally. He would shoot a minimum of 500 free throws a day, hitting them at a near perfect clip. He developed a perfect routine and unique technique through trial and error. He became a free throw guru. Players and coaches sought his help hoping to find the magical key to their shooting endeavors. Later, he wrote the book Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line, which the Lakers reportedly gave to Shaquille O’Neal.
NBA superstars have made a living at the charity stripe. While Tom Amberry never had that opportunity, he still was able to use his talent to create something special.