Chris "Lethal Shooter" Matthews
© Koury Angelo/Red Bull Content Pool

Lethal Shooter and the Holy Grail of 3-Point Shooting Contests

Chris Matthews - aka Lethal Shooter - sets a new marksmanship record.
By Paul Yoffe
5 min readPublished on
Think about all of the great shooters in the history of basketball:
Larry Bird. Reggie Miller. Dirk Nowitzki. Ray Allen. Steph Curry. Devin Booker.
What do they all have in common? They participated in All-Star 3-Point Contests at one point or another in their prestigious careers. Besides each of these greats being elite at the art of shooting, they also share another common trait – none of them were ever able to make all 25 shots around the arc in an All-Star 3-point contest. In fact, none of them were even able to get 21 out of 25! That sole honor belongs to a man by the name of Craig Hodges, who did it successfully in 1986 and 1991 (more on him later in the story!).
This should tell you how difficult it really is to run the racks, which is why we are calling this competition the "Holy Grail of 3-Point Shootouts.”

How it Works

Lethal Shooter runs the racks
Lethal Shooter runs the racks
Now let’s review the set up.
  • Five basketball racks are positioned around the arc of a court, each rack lined with five official game balls placed on the top railing.
  • The racks are placed at a distance of 22 feet at the corners and 23-feet, 9-inches elsewhere around the perimeter.
  • A player starts on one sideline, with a clock of :70 to work against, with the objective to quickly make their way around the arc to each of the racks, sinking as many 3-point shots as possible within the time frame.
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong.

The Challenge

Lethal Shooter runs the racks
Lethal Shooter runs the racks
Now let’s introduce a new baller into the mix. Chris Matthews, aka Lethal Shooter. His resume: a shooting coach for many elite players on the pro, college, and high school levels, as well as a go-to expert for celebrities who have an itch to get better at the art of shooting. Matthews is also a former college and pro player himself who has dedicated his life to teaching the skills and consistency it takes to build the proper muscle memory to become an elite shooter.
I saw running the racks as an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and continue towards being the best shooter I can be.
“As I was thinking about the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend and the 3-Point Contest in Cleveland, my imagination took hold and I wondered if I could run all the racks around the arc,” said Matthews. I always want to make basketball history and push myself with the Art of Shooting. I saw running the racks as an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and continue towards being the best shooter I can be.”
So as the best shooters do, Chris set up a secret gym in Los Angeles, CA, got himself five racks and 25 official Wilson balls, and began the process of “running the racks” in :70 seconds or less.
“There are so many challenges,” said Matthews. “Of course, there is a clock running so that puts your back against the wall. You really don’t have time to adjust your shot as you go because it is nonstop. In a contest you also have the crowd and pressure of shooting in the full arena. Most athletes don’t have time to practice running the racks so it’s just showing up with your muscle memory and shooting your best.”

The Results

Lethal Shooter runs the racks
Lethal Shooter runs the racks
After some time and effort, Lethal was able to accomplish the remarkable feat of making 23 out of 25 shots! This broke the record of 21 out of 25 set by former NBA player Craig Hodges, who also happens to be a friend of Matthews. The achievement of 23/25 is nothing short of remarkable in context of the former record and what other NBA stars have achieved.
“It was a really proud moment for me,” said Matthews. “Craig Hodges is one of my mentors, coached me overseas as a professional, and has been a huge inspiration for me over the years. I have so much respect for him, so being able to make 23 was truly a culmination of everything he’s taught me over the years.”
But don’t get it twisted. Lethal Shooter is not done pushing for the Holy Grail. 25 out of 25 is the end goal, whether it takes three months, or three years.
Chris "Lethal Shooter" Mathews
Chris "Lethal Shooter" Mathews
As a shooter anything is possible! You never want to put a limit or a cap on your abilities or potential. If you are willing to put the time and work in, it’s definitely possible.

What's Next?

This summer, Chris will be launching Red Bull Run the Racks across the country where fans and hoopers alike can take their shot at beating the current record of 23 out of 25, and maybe even be the first to run the racks!
Lethal Shooter will also be in Cleveland for the All-Star event and will be closely watching to see if anyone can beat his record of 23/25, let alone run all the racks. Rumor has it that he has also sent a personal letter to Commissioner Adam Silver and the competition committee humbly inquiring to participate. He for sure has the resume and bona fides, and who knows, maybe one day we will get to see one of the greatest shooters ever join NBA players when the eyes of the hoop world are focused on 3-Point Contests.
“My advice to competitors in the contest is to block out the noise, don’t focus on the clock and really focus on every single shot. You can’t worry about a miss – instead you have to focus on the next shot. I believe it’s key when running the racks to not miss two shots in a row. That’s why it’s so important to lock in on the next shot.”
Sounds like a solid tip to live by not only in basketball, but in the game of life as well.