Rick Barry, An Underhanded Shooting Champ

It’s been a hot minute since we’ve featured a player in the Crisp Bounce Pass Cool Cats series, so let’s kick it with a true NBA legend.

For my folks with New Jersey ties, this guy could very well be the best player from the state. Well, that honor might go to Shaq (who hails from Newark), but let’s call it 1-A and 1-B between Shaq and Rick Barry.

Rick Barry was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was a tremendously talented basketball player.

This Man Could Score a Lot

Barry was named one of 50 Greatest Players in History by the NBA in 1996. The NBA did a 75 Greatest Players list last year, and Barry was still on it, despite 25 years’ worth of new players and careers to consider.

Barry is also the only player ever to lead the NCAA, the ABA (American Basketball Association) and NBA in scoring for an individual season.

He’s fathered five children who have played professional basketball. That’s a different type of scoring, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).

Three of those children — Brent, Jon, and Drew — reached the NBA.

The other two have only played in the NBA G-League or international leagues, but have more unique names: Scooter and Canyon. So it’s a toss-up, really.

He Hosted a Game Show

Do you remember the short-lived 1980s game show, Catchphrase?

I sure don’t, so let’s dig in!

Catchphrase aired for less than four months in the United States, from September 16, 1985, to January 10, 1986.

The goal of the show was to look at animated graphics on a large screen and figure out what message, or catchphrase, they were trying to convey.

And Rick Barry, for some reason, hosted the pilot.

The show didn’t have much success in the U.S., fading away after just 65 episodes.

But the British version of the show gave us a top moment in game show history.

He Doesn’t Care How He Looks

Perhaps Barry’s most impressive achievement was his free throw shooting.

He was an absolute marksman at the line. When he retired, his 90 percent accuracy was the best the league had ever seen.

What was most notable about Barry’s shooting form, however, was the fact that it featured an underhanded approach.

You may recall from the last basketball game you watched that everyone shoots the ball in a similar style, and it’s not by holding the ball between their legs and launching it like they were flinging a water balloon.

Yet Barry didn’t care that people mocked his style, or said it looked weird, or any other criticism. The bottom line is that his shooting was incredibly effective.

And that’s a good lesson for life.

Who cares what other people think about how you look doing something? As long as you’re enjoying it and feeling accomplished, that’s all that matters.