Podiatrist who once made 2,750 straight free throws dies at 94

Kevin Kaduk
The Dagger
Dr. Tom Amberry once hit 2,750 straight free throws without missing. (AP)
Dr. Tom Amberry once hit 2,750 straight free throws without missing. (AP)

Heaven must have needed someone to shoot a technical.

Dr. Tom Amberry, a man who achieved a small bit of fame for his uncanny ability to make free throws, died on March 18, according to the Associated Press. He was 94.

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A podiatrist from California, Amberry made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1993 when he made 2,750 straight free throws at an Orange County rec center. The achievement landed him on David Letterman and made him a sought-after teacher from teams at every level of the game.

Amberry said the record took him 12 hours and that he could have made even more had a janitor who wanted to turn off the lights and go home not interrupted him.

That janitor might have cost Amberry a longer lease on that Guinness spot. Ted St. Martin broke Amberry’s record in 1996 when he made 5,221 straight free throws.

Amberry played college basketball for the University of North Dakota in his home state before turning down a contract to play professionally for the Minneapolis Lakers. He practiced podiatry for 40 years before retiring and making a hobby of making free throws. He shot at least 500 free throws six times a week, only taking Sundays off.

“A free throw is a gift,” he said. “You should take advantage of it.”

For those who asked his secrets to being so accurate, Amberry wrote a book that’s currently ranked No. 1 on Amazon in the basketball category. Amberry stressed seven separate details, including keeping your elbow in, keeping your eyes on the rim and keeping a routine. Amberry would dribble the ball three times before each free throw.

In lieu of flowers, our comments section is requesting you refrain from Shaquille O’Neal jokes.

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