Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why are White NBA Players Better Free-Throw Shooters?

The top 3 NBA free-throw shooters of all-time are white guys, Steve Nash, Mark Price and Rick Barry. Five of the top 10 overall are white, with Larry Bird and Scott Skiles as part of the list.  Many people would consider Peja Stojakovic as white; he is also in the top 10.

The NBA is a league made-up of more than 80% African-American players, yet when it comes to free-throw shooting, African-American players are only 60% of the top 30 all-time in free-throw accuracy.

So, what would explain the reasons for this discrepancy in percentages?

The obvious argument made from years in the past is that African-American players concentrate more of their efforts on dynamic playing, while white players concentrate more on the fundamentals.

African-American players have traditionally preferred the type of play that is creative like going to the rim and using their ball-handling skills to accompany their athletic skills.  White players have traditionally practiced their shooting skills.

Times have changed and coaching has emphasized that players need to be solid in all aspects of the game.  

African-American players have pushed themselves to develop highlight type of play because of the attention it gets from fans and scouts.  Along the way, they have become excellent shooters as well, especially from 3-point range, because they understand how crucial this part of the game is to their success.

The 3-point shot is the type of play that can take the momentum away from the opposing team.  It sets the tone for a team, brings the defense out and opens up the court so that going to rim is more accessible.

For white players, they have tried to enhance their game over the years by embracing more athletic play and trying to do what it takes to match the all-around game of their African-American counterparts.

Their success has been limited, though, because of the differences in body-type and overall athletic prowess when it comes to running and jumping.  There are still great athletic white players, but they know their limits and try to make up for any differences in athletic ability by excelling at the free-throw line.

African-American players may practice the free-throw with an incredible amount of diligence, so it would be unfair to say they don't practice the shot enough.  It just may be that white guys practice it more because it is the one place on the court where there are no disadvantages.


  1. What do you mean by: "Many people would consider Peja Stojakovic as white"!?

    What is he, if he's not white!!?

    Black, yellow, red, green, blue??? lol