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Dick Wolfsie takes a look at the life of Kenny Sailors, the man behind basketball’s jump shot

The invention of the jump shot – Part 1

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Each and every week Dick Wolfsie shares a story that is unique to central Indiana.

This week Dick caught up with the filmmaker behind a documentary that dives deep into the history of basketball’s iconic jump shot.

The documentary film, appropriately named “Jump Shot”, centers around the life of Kenny Sailors. The film’s creator, Jacob Hamilton, recently showed the film at the Heartland International Film Festival in October.

The invention of the jump shot – Part 2

Sailors is considered to have invented the sport’s jump shot.

“So the way that the game was played when Kenny was learning to play basketball was a grounded game,” said Hamilton. “You had a two-handed set shot, you didn’t leave the floor, you pushed the ball from your chest, it was a very unathletic move.”

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People claim others were responsible for inventing the shot, but Hamilton says Kenny’s shot is the modern-day move that players use today.

“Yes, so there is some controversy of whether, you know, who was the person that actually invented the jump shot,” said Hamilton. “Well, we paint a picture in the documentary, because we want to pay tribute to all the men that at that time were also jumping and shooting the ball.”

The invention of the jump shot – Part 3

Hamilton explained the shot isn’t something Sailors invented overnight.

“We’ve kind of dated back to the first time that he jumped and shot the ball in the air was around 1932 on his farm with his older brother,” said Hamilton.

It wasn’t until 1946 when Sailors felt he had narrowed the shot down to what we know today.

The invention of the jump shot – Part 4

Hamilton and his crew interviewed Sailors for the film when he was 91 years old. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 95.

Click the videos to learn more about the film and Kenny Sailors’ story.

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