In the game of basketball, uncontested shots are typically considered the easiest to make. Without a defender in the shooter's space, it allows for an uninterrupted focus on the basket, and fans are still shocked when they see a pro miss without anyone in their way.
So when 13x NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade was asked which shot is the hardest to make, the expected response would have been something like a fadeaway, a step-back, or the infamous running floater that is said to be extremely hard to master.
But in his Q&A session with WIRED, the Miami Heat legend shocked the world by identifying the "open" shot as the hardest to make. In complete confidence, he explained his reasoning:
"The open shot. I personally like a contest because a contest allows me to be able to understand how much arc I need to put on a shot, makes me focus a little bit more. An open shot, it makes me think too much. So, I'll take a contest."
(start at 1:26)
It's an unexpected response, for sure, but Wade probably isn't the only one to think along those lines. Shooting is all about focus, and when a player has someone in front of them, it can actually help them focus on aiming their shot. In the NBA, we see players miss wide-open jumpers all the time, so it's reasonable to think that there's something about a non-contested attempt that messes with shooters.
Regardless of the difficulty of open jump shots, Wade was always an efficient and effective offensive player. In 16 years in the NBA, he averaged 22 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game on 48% shooting.
When he retired in 2019, he was a 13x All-Star, 8x All-NBA player, and 3x Champion. There are few who have mastered the game as he has.