Art of the Free Throw

Devean George, Los Angeles Lakers

The Shot:
Video

The Free Throw:
Devean George, forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, has a very distinctive free throw shooting stance, all starting with his legs. One can easily identify him shooting free throws from across the gym with his legs widely spread wide. “I have used this form since I started playing basketball when I was young,” Devean spoke of at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Devean’s base is much wider than the commonly used free throw shooting stance of other players across the NBA. “Some people don’t like my wide base stance, but it keeps me square to the basket and allows me to use my whole body, not just the upper part.” Before shooting, Devean bounces the ball three times, bends his legs, widens his stance, makes sure his elbow hits his jersey on the way up, and focuses on knocking it down.

The Ritual:
A major key to good free throw shooting is consistency. Whether it’s licking your fingers (Steve Nash), or blowing kisses (Jason Kidd), every player has their little rituals at the free throw line that they do every single time. “At basketball camps coaches always stressed to me repetition, Devean said. “You won’t be a good free throw shooter if you change your form every time you go up to the line.” Devean has used the same form since his college days. “Deep breaths are very important in focusing in on the shot. A free throw is as much mental as it is physical, so you want to ingrain in your mind a ritual that you do each time so you are comfortable and focused. Mine seems to work for me well and I have been doing it for as long as I can remember.”

The Others:
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