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Boys hoops team’s star beats customized robot in free-throw shooting contest

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The age of robotic sports may be coming, but it's not quite here, at least just yet.

As reported by the Seattle Times' Mason Kelley, an elaborate free-throw shooting contest was held in the Seattle (Wash.) Lindbergh High gymnasium, where Lindbergh hoops star Jimmy Keum was pitted against a school-built robot named "Air Ball." The result of six weeks of work by the Lindbergh robotics team, Air Ball was designed to make every free throw it takes.

It did that on Friday, but it also failed to put up as many shots as Keum, who unofficially won the contest by hitting more free throws than Air Ball, though his shooting percentage may not have been as perfect as the robot's.

"I thought it was pretty intimidating, because they had been working on it for a while," Keum told the Times. "It's a machine. I thought it would be automatic. I guess I won one for mankind."

Still, the robotics group's president made it clear that the robotics team didn't feel the effort was for a loss, either.

"We did really well," Lindberg senior Eli Tripi told the Times. "We made the majority of shots that we tried to make, I don't actually think we missed one, so we did really well."

Two winners? Perhaps for this one contest, that might not even be a problem, even if Air Ball's success could prove ominous for future free-throw shooters.

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