Trevor Ariza of the Houston Rockets has made quite a career for himself as a staunch defender and a reliable 3-point shooter. But believe it or not, there was a time when Ariza was actually afraid to shot from beyond the arc.
The reason for that? When he was a young player, he had a certain coach that literally did not allow him to shoot from that range, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
More than a decade ago when Ariza was a second-year player, his coach with the New York Knicks, Hall of Famer Larry Brown, thought Ariza shouldn’t shoot from the perimeter. Like ever.
“He told me not to even look at the basket or shoot the ball,” said Ariza, 32. “I was definitely afraid to shoot. I just wouldn’t. I would not shoot.”
But everything changed when Ariza was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, per Woike.
“It took for me to get to the Lakers and for my teammates to help me get through that mental block that I had,” Ariza said. “Anytime I was open, anytime it even looked like I might be open, they always told me, ‘Shoot the ball. We don’t care if it goes in or if you don’t make it. Just shoot it.’
“They saw the work I put in to try and get better at it, and me, if I’m going to be on the court and not be aggressive, it’s not going to help the team.”
Ariza’s shooting was instrumental in LA’s title run in 2009, and since then, he has provided shooting for the Rockets, where Mike D’Antoni has been the ultimate proponent of the 3-point shot.
Ariza’s career was almost ruined, but it was saved. And now he’s trying to help the Rockets save their season.