Despite being one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Shaquille O’Neal could do it all. Without a doubt, when he ran to the basket, there was no stopping him, but he was very skilled otherwise as well.
Whether off the dribble or shooting/hooking from the mid-range (3-10 feet away from the basket), the 7-footer has a better conversion rate than even Dirk Nowitzki, who is considered the big GOAT shooter.
But as huge and historically dominant as he was, O’Neal had one glaring weakness in his game – free throws. So much so that Hack-a-Shaq was a thing at the time.
But no matter how tired Shaq was of Hack-a-Shaq, there was no way he was going the Rick Barry route.
Also read: Shaquille O’Neal, who once shopped for $70,000 at Walmart became “Shaq-A-Claus” and gave away $20,000 to East Point
Shaquille O’Neal would rather shoot 0% FTs than go the Rick Barry way
The Lakers big man once famously told Rick Barry’s son John Barry, who was O’Neal’s teammate, that he didn’t want to embarrass himself by going underhanded to take his free throws because he didn’t “want to look like a bitch” .
In a recent interview with Business Insider, the 4x NBA champion, who shot just over 52% from the charity stripe throughout his 19-year career, said he would never have gone for the underhand approach, preferring to “shoot 0%.”
Why Shaquille O’Neal is too cool for underhanded free throws pic.twitter.com/ntxQndE0Mo
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) 26 December 2022
The man went on to say that if he could shoot like Stephen Curry, he would be better than Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, and he “accepted” that he couldn’t do it, thus taking the “humble” way out.
Gosh! It is anything but humility. But we guess that comes with the long list of accomplishments he had during one of the most illustrious and greater NBA careers of all time.
How good was the underhanded way?
Rick Barry, an ABA and NBA champion and Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors, who also made it to the Basketball Hall of Fame, was a 6 foot 7′ forward, who played professionally for 15 years averaging close to 25 points , 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game.
But the most famous thing about the legendary forward is that he shot free throws under his hand.
And the ABA-NBA legend was also spectacular. He was a 90% FT shooter in his 11 years in the NBA, which still ranks him as the #4 all-time free throw shooter.
Shaq probably should have. The man could literally wear a dress and not look sissy for a second.
Also read: “How Would You Guard Me Motherf***er?”: Michael Jordan Responds to a Dan Patrick Joke After the Last Dance