Calderon closing in on NBA Free-Throw Record(s), Calvin Murphy’s Wrath

Jose Calderon, point guard for the Toronto Raptors, is closing in a spectacular feat.

He hasn’t missed a free-throw since last season.  April 11th, 2008 to be exact when he made his final three free throws of the 2007-08 season.  And including this season, that’s 75 straight-free throws made.   The 6-3 guard is now only 22 free-throws away from tying Michael Williams’ NBA record of 97 consecutive free-throws made without a miss.

jose Calderon shoots a free throw Already Calderon’s 75 consecutive free-throws without a miss is good to share the #5 spot ALL-TIME with Ricky Pierce, and behind only Williams, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (81), Calvin Murphy (78), and Mark Price (77) .

Top-Ten NBA Free-Throw Streaks:

  1. 97 – Micheal Williams, 1993 (2 seasons)
  2. 81 – Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, 1993 (2)
  3. 78 – Calvin Murphy, 1980-81 (2)
  4. 77 – Mark Price, 1993 (2)
  5. 75 – Jose Calderon, 2008 – present (2)
  6. 75 – Ricky Pierce, 1991 (2)
  7. 74 – Steve Nash, 2007 (2)
  8. 73 – Caron Butler, 2008 (1)
  9. 71 – Larry Bird, 1989-90 (1)
  10. 71 – Sam Cassell, 2004 (1)

Calderon is averaging 2.4 free-throws a game, so factoring a hamstring injury that will keep him out a week or so, Calderon is probably a few weeks  away from the record.

What Would Calvin Murphy Do?
I wonder what Calvin Murphy would do if he still held the consecutive free-throw streak.  Would the 5-9 NBA Hall-of-Famer show up at Calderon’s game and heckle him, or talk trash,  as he has done with previous potential record-breakers like Michael Williams, Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, and Mark Price:

“For 12 years, the NBA record for most consecutive free throws was held by Houston Rockets mighty mite Calvin Murphy, who became the guardian of the record, often gleefully cackling whenever a player got close but fell short.  In April 1993, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price came one free throw short of tying Murphy’s mark of 78 in a row. After the miss, someone asked Murphy if Price choked. “I don’t want to use that word,” Murphy said, “but the shot speaks for itself. I can’t believe it missed that badly.”

Murphy wouldn’t have much time to celebrate Price’s miscue. While everyone was focusing on Price’s streak, Michael Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves was right behind Price, and quietly piling up a streak of his own.  Wiliiams would not only break Murphy’s record, but shatter it, despite Calvin obviously wanting him to miss:

Murphy, who had been hoping against hope that Willies would miss, surely would have flown in for the Timberwolves’ next game against the Utah Jazz, to sit courtside and wiggle his fingers at Williams as if to deliver a curse and keep his record alive. But the Rockets broadcaster had a game to call the night before and couldn’t be there on April 25, 1993… when Williams broke his record.

Though Murphy’s consecutive free throw record had been eclipsed, his single-season record for the highest-free throw percentage in a single season was still intact when he made 206/215 free throws in 1980-81, good for an NBA record 95.8%.

But in 1994, the season following William’s record-breaking free-throw streak,  Murphy found another of his NBA records in jeopardy.

Murphy also owned another NBA record; the highest FT percentage for a single season.  The player that was honing in on the record?  Mahmoud Abdul Rauf, a player that had already pushed Murphy down to third place in consecutive free-throws made the previous season.  And unfortunate scheduling had Denver visiting Houston on the final day of the 1993-94 NBA season:

Denver’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf went into Houston on the final day of the regular season having hit on 96% of his 227 attempts.  When Abdul-Rauf went to the line for the first time in the final minutes, Murphy stood up from his courtside seat and performed a little voodoo hex. Abdul-Rauf missed and Murphy did a celebratory dance.

Murphy not only stood up and performed a ad-hoc curse on Mahmoud, but he was also seen holding the basketball before Abdul-Rauf attempted the foul shot that could have broken Murphy’s single-season record for free throw percentage.

That one missed free-throw, on the final day of the regular season, would keep Calvin Murphy on top of the record books.  While  Abdul-Rauf, would end the season at 95.6% — only 0.02% off of Murphy’s record of 95.8%.

Calvin Murphy’s highest single-season free-throw percentage NBA record still stands today.  We’ll see if Murphy is on hand on March 3rd, 2009, when Calderon and the Toronto Raptors visit the Houston Rockets.

Notes: The record for free-throws in the Euroleague Record is 94 straight free-throws by former-NBA player Arvydas Macijauskas of Lithuania. Macijauskas accomplished the feat while playing for Tau Ceramica Baskonia to 11/26/2006 (one season). The NCAA record is held by Paul Cluxton of Northern Kentucky, 1997-98.  Cluxton hit 98 consecutive free throws over two seasons.

Links and Resources: NBA Free-Throw Records (, Calderon chases mark (Toronto Sun), Free Throw Streaks (, Eluding Calvin’s curse – Flashback: Micheal Williams’ Streak (FindArticles), Hey, Aren’t You Calvin Murphy? (New York Times)

1 Comment

  • Dear “” authors,

    My name is John Wilpers. I am the Global Blog Coordinator for GlobalPost, a new international news organization set to launch on Jan. 12 (see

    I apologize for using your comment area to reach you, but I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to get your blog international exposure on

    My job is to build a list of blogs that will appear on GlobalPost where we will have approximately 65 correspondents in some 46 countries plus high-profile correspondents writing about major themes we’re calling Latitudes (Commerce, Diplomacy, Environment/Green, Health, NGOs, Sport, Technology, Wheels).

    We are looking for enlightening, informative posts from bloggers writing (in English) about those themes. And we were very pleased and excited to find your blog about Sport, in particular international basketball.

    So, I would like to extend an invitation to you to have the most recent post of “” included on the Sport page of as part of our “Global Blogs” service. (I also sent you an e-mail to double the chances of reaching you before we launch next week. Please pardon my enthusiasm for getting your posts onto!)

    After reviewing thousands of blogs worldwide, we have found “” to be one that is thought provoking and gives readers your unique perspective on the issues and events in the world of basketball.

    The way it would work if you accept our invitation is that we would use your RSS feed to place your most recent post on your personal page on We would point back to your actual blog for comments and for archives, hopefully driving lots of traffic to your site. Each time you write a new post, it would replace the older one so only one post would appear on

    By appearing on Global Post’s exciting new international news website, your words, viewpoints, and pictures would gain worldwide exposure. Your posts would not only appear instantly on but also possibly on the sites of our partners, including the Huffington Post (7.8 million U.S. and 9.7 million global monthly unique visitors) and other news and information websites.

    You don’t need to do anything differently. We do request that you consider pointing back to us from your blog (we will send out logos shortly for your consideration), but that’s not a requirement.

    You should know that we have a few guidelines that we observe here at Global Post:

    1) We do not publish racist, sexist, or misogynist comments (unless those comments are the subject of the post).
    2) We do not publish obscene language or photos. While we recognize that obscenity can be difficult to define, we know it when we see it and we will let you know if we think you have crossed our line.
    3) We do not permit plagiarism. Any work taken from another source must be attributed to that source.
    4) We do not publish libelous or slanderous language.
    5) We do not tolerate repeated errors of fact or misrepresentations of facts or quotes.
    6) We do not publish work inciting violence.

    Failure to observe these guidelines would result in the removal of your blog from GlobalPost. We would contact you, of course, to discuss the post in question.

    Because we have a broad multicultural audience holding every conceivable political and religious viewpoint, we want to respect their views while also possibly challenging them. We will host controversial work. We will encourage robust debate of the hottest topics. We will not stifle discussion, only abuse of people, belief systems, and laws.

    We hope these guidelines are acceptable to you.

    I look forward getting your permission to put your RSS feed on our site. Please reply to: Thank you!


    John Wilpers

    PS If you choose to accept our invitation and would like a photo and a short biography to appear on GlobalPost, please send both to me with your confirmation e-mail or at some time shortly thereafter.

    Global Blog Coordinator
    The Pilot House
    Lewis Wharf
    Boston, MA 02110

Leave a Reply