Grandma Free throws

As traditional spring, summer, and fall sports are wrapping up their unique seasons I watched the NBA finals for the first time in awhile. Apart from basketball being wildly different from when I grew up watching the hard-nosed Knicks of the Anthony Mason era, I noticed something else.

The best basketball players in the world, weren’t very good free throw shooters. It made me realize that regardless of money in the bank, or fame, nobody wants to look different or weird compared to their peers to accomplish their goals. Let’s talk about Rick Barry for a second.

The Miami Greyhound

Rick Barry was the number 4 draft pick in the 1965 draft, had a brilliant 10-year NBA career, playing in 8 all-star games. This isn’t a write up of how great he is, but rather a look at his most interesting basketball characteristic. His free throw shooting technique.

Rick Barry was encouraged in high school by his father to shoot free throws underhand, or “granny style” made famous by Larry Johnson’s depiction of “Grandma-ma” in the 90’s. Barry made free throws at an incredible 90% success rate throughout his 10-year career.

  • Lebron James has a sub 80% Free Throw Made Percentage
  • Michael Jordan has an 82% Free Throw Made Percentage
  • The 2020 NBA Champion LA Lakers shot 72.9% from the stripe as a team this season
    • 28th in a league of 30 teams

If the goal is winning, who cares what you look like doing it?

This isn’t to say that notoriously bad free-throw shooters didn’t experiment with the technique. Wilt Chamberlain, who was an atrocious free-throw shooter tried it and said, “he felt like a wimp, and people were laughing at me” so he stopped. Players from Shaq to Bam Adebayo from the Miami Heat this year have tried, all abandoning the technique because of what their peers said, regardless if it helped them accomplish their eventual goal of a championship or not.

Do people who have reached the highest level of their profession, have more than enough money to survive, and are famous really care what their peers think of them?

YES! Human nature doesn’t just go away because you are successful, and the same insecurity goes for investing.

annual returns and intra-year graph

Tune out the noise

The chart above shows the Calendar year returns of the S&P500 since 1980, but it also shows the intr-year decline that occurred in the S&P500 in every single one of those years. Every year since 1980 has provided you an opportunity to let your emotions take over and drive the bus.

The market was down 7% by February of 2019 after just falling in December of 2018. Did you listen to the noise, or your neighbor and sell? You subsequently missed out on 29% of upside.

Who is driving the nice car?

I am not a car person, but that doesn’t mean I can’t admire some pretty cool cars that I see on the road. Living in Ramsey, NJ I live about 2 minutes from one of the few McLaren dealerships in the USA. I routinely see awesome cars parked all over town, and I never miss a chance to stop and admire the car.

Do you know what I don’t admire or even think about?

The person driving the car! When you see a nice car, rarely do you say “man the guy driving that car is cool!” Rather, you say “man, if I had that car, people would think I’m cool!” The dichotomy of this thinking is mind blowing.

People want wealth to signal to others that they should be liked and admired, but those other people bypass the admiration of you, simply because human nature has them using you as the benchmark for being liked and desired. Put simply, they don’t care about you because were to busy thinking about ourselves. Once we understand this, truly understand it, we will stop investing, and better yet spending to brag, but rather to build wealth.

We all think that wealth brings with it a new car, a fancy watch, or a huge home, but what we are all really seeking out is respect and admiration from other people, but fancy things will bring that respect and admiration from the type of people you don’t want to attract.

Don’t abandon your pursuit of wealth….. or even fancy cars, both are fine, and I like them too. We just need to recognize that human nature is for people to want to be respected and admired by others, and using money to get it will actually bring less of it than you imagine.

So What?

So how does this impact all of you?

The next two weeks are going to be emotional, don’t let it drive your decisions.
Tune out the noise, CNBC, your neighbor, and the guy at the dry cleaner don’t care about giving you financial advice. Stop listening to them.
Be like Rick Barry. Accomplish your goal regardless of what it might look like to people on the outside.
Don’t let politics cloud your vision for the markets. One person winning or losing isn’t going to derail anything.
Stay safe and healthy

Stock market calendar this week:

Thursday October 22nd, 2020

Initial and Continuiing Jobless Claims @ 8:30AM

Most anticipated earnings for this week

most anticipated earnings for the week oct 19

Latest Covid-19 Data

latest covid data oct 19