‘I Was Nervous as Hell’: NBA Rookie Sinks Epic Throwback ‘Granny Style’ Free Throws


Shaquille O’Neal may be remembered as a great basketball star, but there was one glaring weakness to his game that dogged his career: free throws. To be sure, Shaq was terrible from the Charity Stripe, sinking an abysmal 52.7% from the line over his playing days; he went 5,935 out of 11,252 attempts, though some — like Ben Wallace and Wilt Chamberlain — finished with even worse percentages.

It’s one area of the game however that Houston Rockets rookie Chinanu Onuaku is determined to not let hinder the chances of NBA success. That’s why on Monday night in his league debut (just days after being called up from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League) Onuaku didn’t take any chances.

He granny-styled his free throws. And made ’em both.

Shooting ‘granny-style’ may not be the sexiest way to go, but Onuaku is playing the long ball. Earlier this year when he was earning some notice for this throwback attempt at free throws, he said, “I came to the notion that I don’t care what anybody thinks. As long as I get the bucket, the point, I’m fine. It’s up to other people to ask themselves why they don’t shoot underhand, but for me, I needed to put pride to the side and make shots. I can’t worry about why other people aren’t doing it. It’s just a different form.” For this rookie, it’s all about substance.

The moment came towards the end of the Rockets’ 131-115 victory over the Phoenix Suns after being fouled by Alan Williams.

After the game, Onuaku was asked about the moment he attempted his unorthodox shooting style in the vein of oldschool star Rick Barry. “I was nervous as hell. I’m just happy that I made them,” he said. Onuaku was first encouraged to try and free throw at the suggestion of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.

Watch above via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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