Word on the Street

The Dantley (thuh dant’-lee) noun. Describes those performances in which a player scores a significant number of points and more than half of those points come from the foul line.

Usage example:Kobe Bryant had a Dantley in Game 1 of the Lakers’ second round playoff series against the Jazz: 38 points on 8 field goals and 21 (out of 23) freethrows.”

Word history: Bob Ryan invented the term (as noted in David Halberstam’s Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made) to describe how Adrian Dantley was able to ignite many of his famous scoring explosions from the foul line. Dantley scored 23177 over his 18-year ABA/NBA career, and 8351 of those points – roughly 36 percent of them – came from the charity stripe. He led the NBA in free throws four times (and was the league scoring champion during two of those seasons) and currently ranks sixth all-time in that category. He shares the record (with Wilt Chamberlain) for most free throws made in a regular-season NBA game (28). Dude straight up knew how to draw fouls. It helped that he could bulldoze his way to the basket with his giant ass (see below).

Unfortunately, basketball-reference.com doesn’t provide box scores from A.D.’s heyday during the mid-80s, but even in the latter stages of his career, Dantley had some signature Dantleys left in him:

November 7, 1986: 24 points, 18 made FTs
December 10, 1986: 33 points, 17 made FTs
January 19, 1987: 27 points, 5 made FTs
March 6, 1987: 23 points, 17 made FTs
April 17, 1987: 28 points, 16 made FTs
December 15, 1987: 27 points, 19 made FTs
January 20, 1988: 28 points, 16 made FTs
December 2, 1988: 28 points, 18 made FTs
January 31, 1989: 20 points, 14 made FTs
March 20, 1989: 24 points, 14 made FTs
April 14, 1989: 34 points, 18 made FTs

Word trivia: I thought that the 2006 NBA Finals would be the perfect place to find examples of The Dantley. After all, Dwyane Wade lived at the freethrow line, right? But I was surprised to discover that he did not have a single Dantley in that series. Yes, he received a ginormous number of freethrows, but he scored more points on field goals in every game. Seriously, go check the box scores.

Fun fact: According to his NBA.com bio, “As a 6-4, 245-pound freshman at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, his prodigious posterior earned him the nickname ‘Baby Huey.'” I’m going to go ahead and assume he preferred “A.D.”

Dantley’s about to draw the foul. And McHale knows it.

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Labels: Kobe Bryant / Adrian Dantley (Baby Huey) / Michael Jordan / Wilt Chamberlain / Dwyane Wade / Kevin McHale / Los Angeles Lakers / Utah Jazz / 2006 NBA Finals / ABA / NBAWord on the Street

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