World B. Free played in the NBA for 13 years. He was drafted by the 76ers in 1975 and later played for the Clippers, Warriors, Cavs and Rockets, among other professional teams.
As it turns out, he kicked a lot of players in his day. He just never did it Draymond Green style.
“Well, I always kicked somebody,” World B. Free said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “They say Reggie Miller was the first guy who did the leg spread-out once he shot a jump shot. Me and Reggie talked. Reggie knew he got that from me, and I got that from a guy by the name of Larry Finch. I believe he went to Memphis back in the day.”
Indeed, Finch played for Memphis from 1969 to 1973. As a senior, he led the Tigers to the national title game, where they lost to Bill Walton and UCLA. Finch later coached at Memphis, first as an assistant and later as a head coach from 1986-1997. In fact, he led Memphis to the Elite Eight in 1992 with the help of a young player named Penny Hardaway.
In any event, Finch is the first player that World B. Free ever saw do the leg-kick on jumpers.
“I remember being at Guilford College and watching this guy, Larry Finch, play when he was (in the ABA) and this guy was getting fouls just by spreading his legs out when he went into the air to shoot a jump shot,” World B. Free said. “He couldn’t really jump as high as I could jump – I had a 44-inch vertical – so I said to myself, ‘If I can incorporate that into my game, I’m going to go to the foul line (more).’ That’s where I got it from.”
For the record, though, World B. Free never kicked anyone in the groin.
“No, well, I was kicking them in the chest because I was jumping that high,” he said, chuckling. “Let’s go to the video tape.”
As for this former team, the Warriors, World B. Free doesn’t believe the Western Conference Finals are over just yet, but he knows it will be difficult for Golden State to come back from a 3-1 deficit, especially after losing the last two games by 52 points.
“I believe they have some fight left in them,” he said. “They are the champions and you do have to knock the champion out, but they’re playing against a well-oiled machine right now. Westbrook, the guy is playing out of his mind and he goes 2,000 miles an hour. Kevin Durant is a clutch guy and they’re getting help from those other guys. It’s going to be very tough for Golden State.”