While his first name matches the last one of the NBA’s all-time greatest player, Jordan Bale would be the first to admit his talents pale in comparison to the man they simply called “Michael” in Chicago.
But there’s no denying his ability to shoot free throws—as evidenced by his third-place showing in Ontario in the annual Knights of Columbus shootout.
Bale, 12, first was the top shooter in his class at St. Francis School here, nailing nine of 15 shots. He then won his school’s title by hitting seven of 15.
After that, he blew away the competition against Robert Moore—hitting an amazing 14 of 15 shots from the line—to earn a shot at the district title against Atikokan.
He went 15 for 25 to win the district crown, which also was good enough to take the regional title when compared to the results of shooters from Thunder Bay.
And that 15 for 25 stood up well when compared to the rest of the province, coming away with the third-best score.
While shooting here back in March, Bale had no idea he would place so high when the results came in earlier this month. Playing the sport only occasionally in his driveway and at school, he admitted he was surprised to make it so far—especially after making a quick exit from the competition a year ago.
“I put my fingers on the laces of the ball and put on a backspin and just try to get lucky,” Bale said of his shooting technique. “For the district, I was nervous but after that, it wasn’t too bad.”
“He shoots like it is supposed to be done in high school, college, and the NBA,” noted St. Francis teacher Gerry Parent. “When he shoots, he dribbles [the ball] a couple of times, has a great follow through, and a great basketball touch.”
His touch is so great, in fact, that he is just the second shooter from St. Francis in the last 10 years or so to finish as high as third at the free-throw championship.
The competition is open to all students in grades five through eight.