UN Court

60-Year-Old Amateur Shoots More Consecutive Three-Pointers Than Stephen Curry

But expert still says the Warriors MVP is better

The NBA this week awarded the honor of most valuable player to Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

The announcement came just weeks after fans were reeling over a video posted to Twitter of Curry sinking 77 three-point shots in a row during a Warriors team practice in April.

It seemed like an impossible feat, something fit for a world record. But “Reality Check” talked to former Olympian and NBA player-turned shooting coach and expert Ed Palubinskas, who said that Curry actually ranks number three in the world when it comes to the number of consecutively made three-point shots.

The world record-holder is the late Fred Newman, a bespectacled former Cal Tech assistant basketball coach and computer programmer. The amateur sank 209 straight three’s back in 1996 when he was 60 years old.

The only catch? Curry is still better.

Palubinskas told NBC Bay Area that Newman earned his record from the college three-point line, which is three feet shorter than the NBA’s line—the one that Curry has mastered. Three feet might not seem like all that much, but on the court it makes a big difference.

“We’re talking a different monkey here,” Palubinskas said in a Skype interview. “We’re talking NBA three’s and this guy is doing regular three’s.”

Sinking three-pointers with precision like Newman and Curry isn’t a matter of luck or athleticism, says Palubinskas. It’s straight up science.

Shooting accuracy can be measured in a number of detailed ways, from finger placement on the ball, to the speed of release, and the arc of the shot—which ideally is measured between 42 and 48 degrees.

Palubinkas’ job as a coach is to break down the mechanics of a player’s shot, and then correct them. He said that some of the pros he’s coached have had up to 23 problems associated with the way they shoot. He then works with them to correct those issues to increase their accuracy percentage.

Palubinskas says that hitting these calculations each time is what gives the best shooters “sustained excellence.” So it’s no surprise that a programmer has got it down.

It’s exactly the kind of mastery that had Curry sinking 77 consecutive shots, and 94 out of 100 total shots during that same practice last month.

Curry is setting the bar high for shooting fanatics, Palubinskas said, but that won’t stop wannabe record holders from trying to match it.

Curry’s finesse and technique—that “sustained excellence” Ed Palubinskas talked about—has placed him at the top of the NBA’s charts for three-pointers made per game and is one of the many reasons he’s the Warriors—and the NBA’s—most valuable player.
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