This Crazy Basketball Shot Off a 583-Foot Tower Made Such an Unexpected Spin

By Casey Chan on at

Leave it to the Harlem Globetrotters to come up with new ways to nail trick shots. Though it’s not the tallest basketball shot ever made (that award goes to this 593-foot shot off a dam), the Harlem Globetrotters version might be even more unique. That's because there’s this weird, almost reverse arc to the shot.

Instead of shooting the basketball up like you normally would (to make the shot follow a parabolic trail), the Globetrotter shoots it downwards. By doing this, the basketball first flies down and then suddenly cuts horizontal, making an almost L-shape toward the bucket. It’s pretty awesome.

What’s happening is known as the Magnus Effect. A ball with just a little bit of spin can move dramatically off the expected course when dropped at such heights (it has to do with the spin of the ball, the air, and the ball pushing air one way and air pushing the ball the other). You can learn more about it here.