The story of a partially blind and deaf NBA player

The story of a partially blind and deaf NBA player

They say your free throw percentage is the best predictor of your shooting potential and going by that standard, ‘Fat Freddie’ Scolari was a sharpshooter. His career average was around 80% despite Scolari having one of the most interesting shooting motions in NBA history – he released the ball from his hip.

Allegedly, Scolari’s weird shooting form came from a shoulder injury in high school, as he wanted to change his shooting release and just kept it later on. So why didn’t you ever hear about the original Markelle Fultz? The reason you don’t know about him is probably the fact Scolari played in the 50s.

Born in 1922, Freddie had a lot of obstacles on his basketball path. He was partially blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, and was overweight (hence the nickname ‘Fat Freddie’), and he still played in the BAA and the NBA. Standing at 5’10”, Scolari played at the point guard position, and he started to play basketball at Galileo High School. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of San Francisco.

Scolari’s first professional basketball team was the Washington Capitals (1946-47 to 1950-51), coached by the legendary Red Auerbach. He also played for the Syracuse Nationals (1950-51), Baltimore Bullets (1951-52 to 1952-53), Fort Wayne Pistons (1952-53 to 1953-54), and Boston Celtics (1954-55). 

Fat Freddie led the BAA in free-throw percentage for the 1946/47 BAA season with 81,1%. He was also a well-known defender and was voted to the All-BAA Second Team in 1947 and 1948. Scolari was an All-Star in 1952 and 1953. For his career, Freddie averaged 11.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. 

Scolari decided to stop playing in 1955 after he went into selling insurance. Then he became the director of the Salesian Boys and Girls Club.
Scolari died in 2002, aged 80, from injuries he suffered after falling in his home in Danville. He became a member of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.