Top 15 Weirdest Free Throw Routines in NBA History

Free throw shooting has a somewhat chequered history in the NBA as it remains one of the most basic-yet-inconsistent fundamentals in the game.

Generally speaking, your typical player takes the foul, struts to the free throw line, shoots a generic stroke and repeats. Some guys swish with consistency, others make a fine living as brick layers; either way, there’s nothing more to it than just taking your shot, right?

Scientifically speaking, the art of shooting consistent free throws falls into behavioural science. If you repeat an action enough times, your brain will automatically guide your body; if you practice shooting free throws enough times, your brain will tell your body how to put the ball into the net.

Missed free throws are generally a result of a player tensing up in a pressure situation, second guessing themselves and not allowing their brain to go through the usual motions. With that in mind, the key to consistently shooting free throws is to shut off your conscience and let your brain do what you’ve trained it to do.

Alternatively, you can throw all that junk in the trash and try something else that has no proven relation to shooting free throws.

A small fraction of the players to don an NBA jersey in the competition’s history have tried to call upon the mysterious unseen forces to try and improve their performance from the line.

Whether it be a small gesture, an unconventional action, a hummed tune or a series of mind-boggling motions, these guys provide the top 15 weirdest free throw routines in NBA history.

15 Don Nelson

14 Nick Van Exel

13 Gregory Kimble

12 Richard Hamilton

11 Jeff Hornacek

10 Alonzo Mourning

9 Jason Kidd

8 Steve Nash

7 Jerry Stackhouse

6 Gilbert Arenas

5 Reggie Miller

4 Dirk Nowitzki

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

3 Rick Barry

2 Wilt Chamberlain

1 Karl Malone

If the "Mailman" delivered mail as slowly as he shot free throws, carrier pigeons would be back in style. Not only did Malone push the 10-second free throw time limit with a number of unnecessary dribbles and ball tosses, he would mutter a sequence of words under his breath at a rapid rate, making him look like a cross between a possessed witch and a speed-rapper. Considering Malone led the NBA in free throws made in a season a league-record eight times, NBA fans have the right to ask for their lost time back. Some reports say Malone was using his family as inspiration to hit the shot, but was more than likely rattling off generic self-complimenting statements. Malone shot a respectable .742 from the line over his career, though he never registered over 80% in a season.

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Top 15 Weirdest Free Throw Routines in NBA History