After looking through the annals of NBA history, I’ve never heard of an NBA player deciding to change his shooting hand until Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson decided to do so.
During his first two seasons in the NBA, Thompson shot with his left hand and to note his numbers, he shot 47.1% from the field and 58.6% from the free throw line.
However, Thompson has decided to change his shooting hand according to SportsNet Canada:
The burgeoning Canadian NBA star, a left-handed shooter for his entire basketball career, has decided to use his right hand to shoot jump shots and free throws.
“I think it’s the first time ever in NBA history,” Thompson said of the change, and he may be right.
Jerry Colangelo, executive director of USA Basketball has been affiliated with the NBA since the mid-1960s and has seen everything the modern game has to offer, seemingly. Does he know of an NBA player switching his shooting hand mid-career?
“No,” he said flatly when I asked him. “There are a lot of players who work hard so they can finish equally well with both hands, but as far as changing the hands they shoot with? I’ve never heard of that. That’s 1-in-1000 right there.”
To note, this transition doesn’t appear to be too difficult for Thompson since he is ambidextrous according to the article:
Thompson’s decision comes after careful deliberation. He’s naturally almost perfectly “multi-handed” if not purely ambidextrous. He grew up shooting with his left-hand and driving the ball predominantly to his left, but he throws a baseball with his right hand. He writes left-handed but brushes his teeth with his right-hand.
“I’m all messed up,” Thompson joked. “I’m still trying to figure myself out.”
Tristan Thompson image courtesy of Getty Images