Report: Waving Objects Behind Basket Has Only Resulted In 3 Missed Free Throws In NBA History

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Report: Waving Objects Behind Basket Has Only Resulted In 3 Missed Free Throws In NBA History

DURHAM, NC—A new study published on fan behavior this week revealed that the common practice of waving objects behind the basket to distract free throw shooters has succeeded only three times in the NBA’s 67-year history. “It doesn’t matter if the objects are inflatable plastic noodles, signs that say ‘Miss It,’ or cardboard cutouts of players—waving them around almost never has any effect on the free throw shooter whatsoever,” said the study’s lead author Andrew Townsend, noting that the only three times the strategy worked were St. Louis Hawks point guard Jack McMahon’s second missed free throw against the Celtics on March 2, 1957; Philadelphia 76ers center Darryl Dawkins’ first missed free throw in Game 2 of the 1980 Eastern Conference Finals; and Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince’s fourth failed attempt against the Chicago Bulls on January 6, 2007. “These are professional athletes we’re talking about. They know how to deal with this stuff. They’re not going to miss just because you’re frantically shaking something.” The study did confirm, however, that shouting “brick” just before a free throw causes players’ accuracy to drop by 20 to 30 percentage points.

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