15 Ugliest Free Throw Shooting Forms in NBA History

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2011

15 Ugliest Free Throw Shooting Forms in NBA History

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    The free throw is one of the simplest shots in basketball. It's just a player and his thoughts trying to minimize the distractions of the crowd and the situation and put the ball in the basket for a single point. 

    It shouldn't be hard. But it is. 

    Anyone and everyone who has ever played basketball has been taught to shoot free throws, generally in a way consistent with the form of other people. Sometimes though, the form becomes a little unorthodox. 

    Then there's the players for whom "unorthodox" simply won't do justice to their shot. 

    Read on to discover the players in NBA history with the absolute ugliest free throw shooting forms. 

Michael Adams

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    In this clip, Michael Adams made sure that the Denver Nuggets jersey he's wearing wasn't actually the ugliest thing present. 

    Adams starts almost all the way to the right side of the foul stripe and leans forward as he moves his shooting hand quickly forward to propel the ball to the basket. 

    It worked throughout his career, as Adams retired in 1996 with a career free throw percentage of 84.9 percent. 

Rick Barry

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    Rick Barry shot 90 percent from the charity stripe throughout his NBA career (89.3 percent if you include the ABA days). 

    But his shot was as unorthodox as they come. 

    When was the last time you saw anyone shoot underhanded at the free throw line?

Andris Biedrins

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    Andris Biedrins has made 51.1 percent of the free throws he's attempted in his career. 

    There's a reason for that. 

    You can find out what that reason is in, oh, roughly 14 seconds of video. 

Marcus Camby

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    Marcus Camby's expression in this video is absolutely hilarious.

    Even he knows that his shot is as ugly as can be. 

    I'm pretty sure that you aren't supposed to rotate the ball in a full circle before bringing it above your head...

Bill Cartwright

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    Any time you fully extend your arms above your head before releasing the ball, you know you have a problem.

    It amazes me that Bill Cartwright was able to drain even one of these free throws. 

Wilt Chamberlain

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    Does it even look like Wilt Chamberlain gives a damn while he's shooting these free throws?

    He has a glazed over expression, never glances at the rim and just kind of throws the ball in the general direction of the basket. 

    The Stilt was great at a lot of things on the court, but free throw shooting was never really one of them. 

Chuck Hayes

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    I have no words to describe this monstrosity. 

Shawn Marion

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    It figures that Shawn Marion would have an ugly free throw shooting form. Every other part of his game is ugly but effective. 

    Marion barely brings the ball up to the level of his chin before quickly pushing it towards the basket. It's one of the quickest releases in the game right now. 

    At least it works for the Matrix, who has made 81.3 percent of the freebies in his career. 

Desmond Mason

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    Desmond Mason's free throw form is just indescribably bad. 

    The best comparison I can come up with is a robot. That's the only way to put the herky-jerky wind-up he employs into words. 

Don Nelson

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    I have to say that I didn't expect this one.

    I definitely would've expected for one of the all-time great coaches to have been a bit more fundamentally sound from the charity stripe during his playing days.

    Who shoots with just one hand? Who jumps while they take free throws?

    Don Nelson, that's who. 

Joakim Noah

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    The hair definitely helps contribute to the ugliness of this former Florida Gator's shot. Joakim Noah's free-throw shooting form in general though needs a serious makeover. 

    You are not supposed to put side-spin on the ball when you shoot it. And as for the wrist snap, it should be done vertically, not horizontally. 

Shaquille O'Neal

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    Do I really need to say anything about Shaquille O'Neal

    The master of brick-laying from the free throw line, Shaq basically threw the ball at the basket like you or I would throw a baseball. 

Jerry Stackhouse

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    Sometimes, you just have to blame your bad form on your parents. Come on now, who hasn't tried to pass the buck onto Mom or Dad? 

    Jerry Stackhouse claims that it's his mother's fault that he tries to imitate sitting on a toilet before each and every foul shot.

    Supposedly, she always yelled at him for not bending his knees enough and he overcompensated. 

Jamaal Wilkes

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    Jamaal Wilkes looks like he's winding himself up before he releases the basketball on a route towards the basket. 

    In a lot of ways, he was the predecessor to shots like Shawn Marion's. 

    Just like with Marion, though, this ugly shot worked for Wilkes. He shot 75.9 percent from the free throw line over the course of his career. 


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    I couldn't find videos of these shots, but they all deserve at least a mention:


    Chris Dudley (squat-and-push once led to 13 straight misses)

    Priest Lauderdale (struggled with form and production just like most other seven-footers)

    Anthony Mason (one-handed shot plus karate chop didn't work so well)

    Tayshaun Prince (always a good shooter, but the side-winding style didn't look too good) 

    Oscar Robertson (his ridiculously quick release was just too fast)


    Adam Fromal is a syndicated writer and Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow him on  Twitter.

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