The idea of shooting 100 percent from the foul line for an NBA season seems impossible, especially when you consider that an NBA star can get to the foul line 300 times or more in a given year. That's why when you scan Mark Price's career statistics and you see that ludicrous number, 100 percent, on his stat line, you hesitate to believe it, but then you figure, it's Mark Price, he's a four-time All-Star and one of the greatest shooters of all time, anything is possible.
Truth be told, he shot 100 percent during a year where he only took ten attempts, but the fact that you entertained the idea that he achieved percentage perfection speaks to his lofty shooting reputation – and to the hard fact that he shot about 95 percent from the line three times in his career.
So imagine that you're one of his sons at the foul line in a middle school, high school or college game. Every single shot is expected to drop.
"I've never put that pressure on my sons," Mark says. "But the reputation is there. My sons have had to deal with the good side and the bad side. But the truth is I played long enough ago that most of the kids my son's ages know me more from video games. They'll say, ‘my dad was playing you on a video game and he was killing me.'"
Price has four children including two daughters, one of whom is a tennis player at the University of North Carolina, and two sons, Josh, who is fifteen, and Hudson, who is currently a freshman at Texas Christian University.
"They grew up around basketball, obviously," he says. "And I coached Hudson in fourth, fifth and sixth grade."
After Price retired from the NBA he embarked on a coaching career that took him from middle school all the way to the pros. Coaching in the NBA can be a volatile situation with the almost inevitable firings, but one regime change worked to Price's benefit with his family. In 2012, Price lost his job as an assistant with Orlando when the team sacked coach Stan Van Gundy. But Price still had a year on his contract, so he had the blessing of being paid to watch Hudson play his senior season of high school and to coach Josh's seventh-grade team.
"I went back and coached a little in college and then in high school and then with kids," he says. "I was kind of going backwards, but now I'm back up the ladder. Whether you're dealing with 12- and 13-year-olds or 30-year olds, a lot of the coaching concepts are very similar."
Price is back in the NBA this season as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats, and when he works with his players to improve their shooting, he instills in them the same fundamentals that he was taught.
"Whether it's my son or anybody else, it's all a matter of putting the time in," he says. "The only thing that makes a good shooter is practice."
Of course, when you're practicing with your sons, you're not only building the fundamentals of basketball, you're also building your relationships as well.
"The fun part for me is getting to work with them," Price says. "Just getting in the gym by ourselves is great. When you're working out with your son and it's only the two of you without the pressure of the games, that's what I enjoy."
When the two play basketball, Price tries to keep the games to shooting contests, where he still has an advantage. He says his knees aren't in great shape so that keeps one-on-one off the table. Also, there's the issue of his son's size.
"Hudson is about 6-6 now and he can beat me up a little bit," he says.
Of his two sons, Hudson is the serious one who Price says takes all his advice to heart. His youngest, Josh, likes to fly by the seat of his pants.
"Josh will throw a pass behind his back, between his legs, wherever," Price says. "I might have to tell him to do something five times. Hudson will listen better."
Still, whether it's coaching his own kids or NBA professionals, you have to know the personalities you're dealing with to be an effective coach.
"You have to know what makes each player tick," he explains. "With my sons, they are different, but they are both fun to work with and I enjoy being with them so much. But the thing is, you can't make them love the game. You can't teach a love for it. That has to come from the person and the individual. Some guys like it. Some guys do it because they're good at it.
"With your own kids, you hope they fall in love with it. It's just a bond I have with them and it's the same one that I had with my dad, who was also a coach. We love sitting around talking about games and watching games together."
With one son playing at a major college program and another in high school, there should be plenty of game tape to watch ... or Hudson and Josh could simply enter "Mark Price" into a YouTube search if they really want to see some good ball. Their old man had game.
-- Jon Finkel is the author of The Dadvantage: Stay In Shape On No Sleep With No Time And No Equipment. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Finkel.