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Tossing Around the Underhand Free Throw

SB Nation

The free throw is nearly as old as basketball itself. The shot dates almost as far back as when rules were first recorded at a gym in Springfield, Mass., by the game’s creator, Dr. James Naismith, in 1891. Added to the sport just a few years later, the shot was initially taken 20 feet away from the basket, before the distance was reduced to 15 in 1895. The rules governing perhaps basketball's most idiosyncratic shot have gone mostly unchanged since.

The shot seems simple. Standing just 15 feet away from a 10-foot-tall hoop, players try to toss a 9-inch-wide spherical ball weighing approximately 20 ounces through an 18-inch diameter rim. It hearkens back to the game’s original purpose — putting the ball in the basket.

“It's the only part of the game...

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