The Impact of Hank Luisetti’s Shooting Style on Stephen Curry’s Basketball Journey

Stephen Curry is the NBA’s greatest shooter, and it’s often said that he changed the game. This is true, but Curry wasn’t the first player to change how NBA players played.

In fact, if it wasn’t for Stanford’s Hank Luisetti, Curry may have never had the chance to change the game. This was because Luisetti is credited as the player who invented what we know to be the jump shot.

“We made a trip to New York, played in Madison Square Garden and revolutionized the game,” Walter Vincenti, Stanford’s 1936 basketball team manager, said. “He [Luisetti] was unusual in his day. But people soon began to imitate him, and basketball became a more wide-open game.”

Vincenti was speaking about how, when all the other players were shooting either hook shots or the standard two-handed set shot, Luisetti was shooting the game’s first jump shots.

Now, there’s some debate about whether Luisetti actually created the jump shot. A player named John Miller Cooper has also been credited as the inventor of the jump shot.

Even if Luisetti did not create what we know as the jump shot, he was the one who made it popular. Just like Stephen Curry did not invent the three-point shot, but he sure did popularize it.

Luisetti continued to use his jump shot, which was a running jump shot, and this would change the game forever, like how Curry’s three-point shot has changed the game today. The reason Luisetti’s jump shot was such a game-changer was because it sped up the game.

The game was slow, as players took the time to get into their set shots. The jump shot was quicker and more fluid. This led to a fast pace style of basketball that not only saw bigger scores but it was more exciting, at least to most.

There were some people who didn’t approve of Luisetti’s shooting style and believed it was bad for the game. In a game between Stanford and No. 1-ranked Long Island University, a reporter wrote a piece about Luisetti’s shooting and it wasn’t to praise it.

“Some of his shots would have been deemed foolhardy if attempted by another player,” the reporter wrote.

Still, Luisetti and his new form of shooting, which his teammates copied, set out to do the unthinkable. They were going to beat the top-seeded Long Island team.

The game was played at Madison Square Garden, and Long Island entered the game on a 43-game winning streak. The arena was packed as most wanted to watch the best team, Long Island, play.

According to Stanford basketball radio analyst John Platz, he believed fans should be packing the stadium to watch Luisetti play.

“He’s certainly known here [Stanford],” Platz said. “Why isn’t he more revered?”

As for the game between Stanford and Long Island, Luisetti scored 15 points and led Stanford to a 45-31 victory over Long Island. This ended Long Island’s long win streak and gave the world its first glimpse at Luisetti and his jump shot.

Stephen Curry Changed The Game
Stephen Curry was drafted into the NBA in 2009. At that time, NBA teams averaged 18.1 three-point attempts per game. As of the 2022-23 season, the league average was 34.2 per game.

Curry is the main reason for the change because not only did she start attempting a lot per game, he was making them at a high rate. As a rookie, Curry attempted 4.8 threes per game.

In Curry’s historic 2015-16 season, where he was named the first-ever unanimous MVP, Curry attempted 11.2 threes while making 5.1 threes per game. This type of shooting from Curry led to every team changing their game plans.

Today, centers routinely step out and fire up three-pointers. This is encouraged by the coaching staff. In the 1990s, if a center shot a three, he’d likely be pulled from the game.

Yes, things have changed. First, it was Hank Luisetti changing the game with his jump shot. More recently, Stephen Curry changed the game with his incredible three-point shooting.

The game has constantly evolved, and it’ll continue to happen. This is what keeps the game of basketball exciting and fresh.

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