By Paul T. Choate
Dec. 11, 2012. Appalachian State University men’s basketball’s junior center Brian Okam’s name has gone viral online, although certainly for a reason he would not have preferred. During a 70-64 loss to Western Carolina on the road on Saturday, Okam shot a free throw that has been dubbed the “worst free throw ever” and the “ugliest missed free throw you have ever seen,” among other dubious names.
The 12-second video was posted to YouTube on Dec. 8 by Western Carolina’s university television station, wcu62TV, and has been viewed over 8.6 million times in a matter of a three days.
Yesterday, Dec. 10, Okam’s infamous free throw was featured on popular ESPN programs “Pardon the Interruption,” “Around the Horn,” “SportsCenter” and was even featured on the “Monday Night Countdown” prior to the Houston Texas squaring off against the New England Patriots. In addition to several television outlets airing the clip, the story has spanned across the country to such publications as the Los Angeles Times and has even gone international in publications such as the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.
Around 8 p.m. last night, Okam released a statement via GoASU’s Twitter feed saying, “I hit the first shot (of the two-shot foul) and on the second, it was just one of those crazy things where the ball slips out of your hand. Obviously a lot of folks have seen it and it’s gotten a lot of attention, but I’m just focused on moving ahead with final exams this week and getting back on the winning track against UMKC on Sunday. You look back at it and laugh a little bit for sure but it’s not something that will be on my mind the next time I step to the free-throw line.”
The Mountaineers (1-7, 0-1 SoCon) return to the court on Dec. 16 when they take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos (4-5, 1-1 Summit) at the Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City, Mo. Game time is set for 2:05 p.m.
For Okam, we’ll just have to hope it’s like the saying goes: “bad press is better than no press at all.”