Former world-record holder for consecutive free throws dies at 94

March 26, 2017 / Winning Hoops
Dr. Tom Amberry, who 24 years ago set a world record by making 2,750 consecutive free throws, has died. He was 94.

Screenshot via YouTube

Amberry, a North Dakota native, played basketball at the University of North Dakota before transferring to Long Beach City College in California, where he was named Junior College Player of the Year. According to The Associated Press, the long-time podiatrist retired in 1991 and made basketball his hobby, shooting at least 500 free throws six days a week at a local athletic club. Amberry’s personal notes show he made 500 consecutive free throws on 473 separate occasions. 

From The AP:

The retired podiatrist earned a spot in Guinness World Records and brief celebrity in 1993 after he lobbed in shot after shot for 12 hours.

Amberry later said he could have shot many more free throws, but a janitor interrupted him because it was time turn off the lights and close the small rec center gym in Orange County.

“I could have made more — a lot more,” Amberry said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But they were closing the gym, so they kicked me out.”

Amberry told Sports Illustrated in 1994, “A free throw takes six seconds, and you can’t think of anything else during those six seconds.” He wrote a book titled, “Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line.”

Ted St. Martin broke Amberry’s record in 1996, making 5,221 consecutive free throws.

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