Opinion: Hack A Shaq


Shaquille O’Neal takes a free throw. (Image by Keith Allison)

Emmanuel Adesanya, Sports Editor

Blocks, ridiculous passes, seemingly superhuman verticals, and most of all clutch shots are what fans of the NBA tune in to see when they get home and turn on their TVs. Amidst all these exciting components of the game, nothing kills the experience more than the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy; this involves continuously fouling the opposition’s worst free throw shooter, typical a power forward or center, such as Shaquille O’Neal, who has a career free throw percentage of 52.7%, which is horrible by all standards and levels of basketball.

Much like watching a team that is really bad–Sorry Lakers–compile horrible record and be hopelessly outmatched night after night, witnessing otherwise extremely talented “big men” missing 20+ free throws (DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond) seems funny at first but takes quite a toll on the game.

The strategy is understandably used in late game situation, many around the league argue it is ultimately ineffective and shows the team that does this doesn’t necessarily have the ability to successfully defend. Some say it is part of the game and that if the team with the aforementioned poor free throw dislikes the strategy, the big man needs to spend some time after practice at the line. Veteran Kobe Bryant told Fox Sports “You can’t protect guys who can’t make free throws.”

The rule should not be changed; players need to knock down their free throws. It’s as simple as that. The second players like Drummond and Jordan work on their release as much as they do on their post moves, no player from the other the team will even think about fouling them in a late game situation. Unwillingness to work on what can be described as literally earning free points makes these “Hack a Shaq”-ees a burden on the rest of the team.