Rick Barry famously made 90% of his free throws while shooting underhand.
Shaquille O’Neal infamously shot just 53% on his free throws, inspiring hack-a-Shaq.
Why didn’t Shaq use Barry’s technique?
Shaquille O’Neal: Because it’s boring.
Business Insider: But it’s been proven to be somewhat effective.
O’Neal: No, it’s not. It’s not proven. Just ’cause a couple guys did it doesn’t mean anybody can do it.
I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand. I’m too cool for that.
O’Neal is somewhat trying to protect his larger-than-life, jokester image. But he’s also speaking to truth.
Barry would have been a good free-throw shooter overhand, too. Shooting underhand wasn’t necessarily going to fix Shaq’s problems at the line. Just because it worked for Barry doesn’t make it a “proven” technique.
Yet, every poor free-throw shooter – from Shaq to Andre Drummond to Andre Roberson – has been pestered about shooting underhand. It might be the right form for some players, but it’s no silver bullet.