With stories of Dr. Tom Amberry’s death hitting the news sites all over the world, his book has become the #1 best seller in the basketball category on Amazon.com. Even books with exciting names like “Jump Attack” and “Playing Big” have, for today, taken a back seat to Free Throw.
The book I wrote with Dr. Tom came out in 1996. One of the frustrations of writing a book is that you never really know it’s impact of people’s lives. Occasionally, you get glimpses of what your words have done in emails, letters or phone calls. One of the more unusual responses came through a mutual friend, Jim Ullrich, from Conroe, Texas.
Jim, a former college basketball player, and a fine free throw shooter himself — making 249 in a row and over 100 numerous times — ordered used copies of our book to give to his clients in his accounting practice. One book he bought used had apparently been read many times by an unknown coach. This coach had written hundreds of his own comments in the margin of the book, notes to himself about how to better coach this method to his own players. The comments were intelligent, insightful and could have almost been the basis of another book. It amazed me to think of someone pouring over our words in such detail.
Many other readers contacted Dr. Tom asking for free throw shooting advice. Dr. Tom always had time to help them and often, just his words, and encouragement, would bring about an improvement. One proud parent even send a video of her 12-year-old daughter making two free throws at the end of a game to win a championship.
Dr. Tom used to say, “A free throw is a gift, a point for you and your team.” Free throws were, in deed, a gift to Dr. Tom and to everyone who met him.
Philip Reed, Long Beach, Calif.