Karl Malone, who made only 48.1% of his free throws for the Utah Jazz last season, said he shot 500 a day during the summer and didn't leave the gym until he made five in a row blindfolded.
The work is paying off as the second-year forward made 86.3% of his free throws in preseason play, including 19 straight in one stretch.
In the regular season, he is still having problems at the free-throw line, missing 18 of his first 40 attempts.
The number of rookies on opening-day NBA rosters has remained fairly steady in recent years. Forty-eight made it this season, following 49 a year ago and 53, 48 and 48 the three seasons before that.
Sixth-round pick Tim Kempton of Notre Dame and the Clippers, No. 124 of the 162 players selected last June, was the lowest-drafted rookie to make a team.
The only first-rounders not on a roster were Len Bias of Maryland, who died two days after he was drafted No. 2 by Boston; Ken Barlow of Notre Dame, who was drafted by the Lakers, was traded to Atlanta and is now playing in Europe; and Arvidas Sabonis, the Soviet who was drafted by Portland.
When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar started his 18th season earlier this month, his 35,108 points were more than the entire rosters of six NBA teams--Indiana, Houston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland.
The Cavaliers, with five rookies, started with a roster that had 11,005 points. The Lakers, with Abdul-Jabbar, led the NBA with a roster that scored 63,924 points.
According to the Washington Bullets' press guide, forward Jay Vincent owns 103 houses in Lansing, Mich., which he rents through his company, House Renters of Lansing.
A little-known NBA rule says that only one substitution can be made by a team during a 20-second timeout. If two players from one team are injured at the same time, a regular timeout must be called if a coach has to replace both players on the floor.
New Jersey's Darryl Dawkins on his new wife Kelly: "She captivated me with her beauty, her charm and her brains and alienated me with her nagging. Of course, if she makes me mad, I'll shoot her."
Atlanta Coach Mike Fratello says the trend toward bigger and bigger front lines could backfire for some teams.
"Twin Towers are all well and good, but you've got to have two guys who can play," Fratello said. "You can't put any two 7-footers out there. You can't just take two spastic guys who can't pass, can't dribble, and get knocked down every time they try to set a screen."
Denver's Doug Moe, however, says the trend will continue.
"You've always had big guys here and there, but never as many as you do now who can play."
The Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets had a rib-eating contest that was won by offensive tackle Mark Cooper, who downed 91.
Nuggets center Wayne Cooper came in second with 76, but admitted later that some of his teammates threw their bones on his plate to pad his total.
"We wanted to show the Broncos that we're not wimps," Wayne Cooper said.