Concentration is key to performing at peak potential in sports. When shooting free throws, many players have rituals they undergo before attempting their shot. Steve Nash is one of the greatest free throw shooters of all-time — posting a career percentage of 90.43 percent. His ritual consisted of miming his shot a few times, then licking his fingers, all the while never taking his eyes off the rim. There were a few instances where fans or referees threw Nash off his groove, and generally, that’s when Nash would miss. Jerry Stackhouse would squat down to an absurdly low level before shooting, and Flint Tropics legend and famed fictional promoter Jackie Moon would mimic his shot a few times, spin the ball back to himself, and give the ball a few pecks before tossing it up granny-style.
Interrupting a player’s ritual can have a devastating effect on their ability to concentrate and thus sink the free throw. So, in several arenas across America, fans have taken the liberty of creating distractions during their opponents’ free throw shots. Who could forget the “distraction curtain” put on by the 942 Crew at Arizona State? I guarantee Michael Phelps hasn’t. Remember when fans got so fed up with the amount of time it took Giannis Antetokounmpo to attempt a free throw that they started counting every second the Greek Freak had the ball in order to move the game along? Well, I think the Davidson swim team just upped the ante.
In the words of Shooter McGavin after he saw two big fat naked bikers in the woods off 17 having sex, “how am I supposed to chip with that going on?” That’s 13 guys in speedos conducting pelvic sorcery right behind the backboard. To make matters even worse, the guy fourth from the left is screwing up the entire rhythm. You see that happening and you can’t help but be infuriated. It’s an impossible ask for anybody at the stripe.
So, now the question I bet you’re all dying to know: “Was it effective?”
Davidson’s (17-3) opponent was Virginia Commonwealth University (12-6). On the season, VCU has shot 65 percent from the free throw line. In their game at Davidson, VCU shot 50 percent (9-18) from the line, their second-worst percentage of the season. Safe to say that VCU shooters were a little thrown off when they walked to the stripe.
Davidson swimmers wearing speedos to home basketball games has become somewhat of a tradition at the school. Swimmer Luke Burton was seen dancing in his speedo behind the backboard and in front of a visibly uncomfortable elderly man. Burton would eventually be kicked out of the arena for his shenanigans. However, the tradition has been around much longer than that.
Now, if Davidson’s current swimmers can find themselves some good leopard-print swimwear, that’d be the pinnacle of this distraction technique. There’s zero chance anybody at the free throw line could focus on the rim when an entire savannah is printed on 13 crotches in their peripheral vision. No chance!