The Worst Airballed Free Throws In The History Of Civilization, Numbers 24 Through 20

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The airballed free throw is the most shameful, profound action of failure that exists in any sport. And yet, nobody has attempted to keep stats on them ... until now. Here are all the airballs from the stripe we found, complete with video evidence.

24. Omri Casspi, Cleveland Cavaliers

Date: December 20th, 2011
Game situation: Up by two, 7:12 remaining in 4th
Career free throw percentage: 66.1 (8.7 percent worse than 2011-12 league average)
Missed rim by (visual estimate): Undetermined
Reaction from an unknown party: "Oh, shit!"
Immediate visual reaction:

Omricasspi_medium

Other notes: A few things here:

- One awesome wrinkle to televised airballed free throws is that they often happen right after the color commentator spends 20 seconds speaking well of the player.
- A free throw is considered a dead ball if airballed, but that will never stop players from going for the rebound that isn't a rebound because it didn't rebound off anything.
- It seems as though the player/fan airballed free throw reaction of choice is, "oh shit!"

23. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Date: February 24th, 2009
Game situation: Undetermined
Career free throw percentage: 59.2 (15.6 percent worse than 2011-12 league average)
Missed rim by (visual estimate): Three inches
Reaction from the crowd: Applause
Immediate visual reaction: Undetermined
Other notes: If Dwight Howard, who some would argue is actually the most valuable player in the league, airballs a free throw, we're lucky to have a single piece of shaky, blurry video evidence recorded by someone in the crowd. If LeBron James airballs a free throw, video is uploaded to YouTube by 300 different people, and the U.N. security council votes to commission a military drone to hover over him wherever he goes and drop custard pies on his face. They can hit him at an angle like that. They're smartpies.

22. Ben Wallace, Cleveland Cavaliers (first appearance)

Date: January 2nd, 2008
Game situation: Up by 16, 6:03 left in 2nd
Career free throw percentage: 41.5 (33.3 percent worse than league average)
Missed rim by (visual estimate):
Three inches
Immediate visual reaction:

Wallacelebron1_medium

Immediate visual reaction to finding that immediate visual reaction was shown on Jumbotron:

Wallacelebron2_medium

Other notes: LeBron James is the best part about airballed free throws he didn't even shoot. I'm dying laughing, which is weird, because guys like J.R. Smith and Andray Blatche make me die laughing. Not LeBron. He's certainly not boring, or a robot, or anything like that. He's just ... sort of humorless. Like, you know how society can generally be separated into people who thought The Adventures of Pete and Pete was funny, and people who didn't? LeBron is the kid who points out that Mrs. Kretchmar was played by Patty Hearst, but doesn't actually laugh at anything.

Well, actually: he laughs at the Fruity Pebbles commercial during the break, then freezes in horror when he realizes you're looking at him.

21. Antoine Walker, Idaho Stampede

Date: December 23rd, 2010
Game situation: Undetermined, but it's a D-League game, so whatever
Career free throw percentage: 63.3 (13 percent worse than 2011-12 league average)
Missed rim by (visual estimate): Four inches
Call from the booth: "What do NBA players look like? Well, they're big as an aircraft carrier, they're six-foot-nine, and they can take the ball from the three-point line [shot misses] directly to the rim. Walker airballs the second free throw ..."
Immediate visual reaction:

Antoinewalker_medium

Other notes: Look at that face! You have to watch the video to truly appreciate it, to witness as his face immediately contorts into a look of anguish while the ball has just barely started upon its downward arc. He knows.

20. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (second appearance)

Date: June 10th, 2007.
Game situation: Down by 19, 8:43 remaining in 2nd (NBA Finals)
Career free throw percentage: 74.5 (0.3 percent worse than league average)
Missed rim by (visual estimate): Three inches
Immediate visual reaction:

Lebronjames2_medium

Other notes: This by no means is the worst free throw attempt of all time, but given the context, it might be the saddest. After five years of everyone expecting LeBron to bring the Cavaliers to the Finals, LeBron finally does. They lose Game 1. In Game 2, they find themselves down big early, 38-19. LeBron steps up to the line and completely whiffs it. If you had to draw a line somewhere between, "it's anyone's series!" and "oh wait, the Cavs are going to lose," I think it would be this moment.

Intro | Numbers 36 through 31 | Numbers 30 through 25 | Numbers 24 through 20
Numbers 19 through 14 | Numbers 13 through 8 | Numbers 7 through 1

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