‘Dr. Tom,’ podiatrist who made a record 2,750 consecutive free throws, dies at 94

It took 12 hours and 2,750 shots for Tom Amberry, a 71-year-old retired California podiatrist, to set the world record for free throws consecutively shot and made.

Over and over, 10 bored witnesses watched his six-second routine — parallel feet, three bounces of the ball, bent knees, tight elbows — inside the Rossmoor Athletic Club in Seal Beach, Calif., on Nov. 15, 1993.

Amberry stopped at the 12-hour mark, but only because the gym janitors made him.

“I could have made a bunch more,” Amberry told the Orange County Register in 1995. “I was `in the zone,’ as the kids say.”

In the quarter century that followed, Amberry wowed David Letterman and Tom Brokaw on TV, wrote a free throw guide book, “Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line,” and traveled the globe teaching players young and old, amateur and all-star, how to master the least sexy way to win a basketball game.


Last week, amid the height of March Madness, Amberry died in California.

He was 94.

Read the rest of Katie Mettier’s obituary in the Washington Post.

Dr. Tom was clearly superb at shooting free throws and I think we can learn from his example. Habit, focus, and practice are incredibly important.

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