There are many statistical indicators in the NBA that determine the achievements of players. They are known by various names. The 50-40-90 club is one of them which appeared after the introduction of a 3-point field goal in the 1979-80 season. In order for players to enter this “club”, they have to meet certain criteria of statistics.
What is the 50-40-90 club? A NBA player must shoot at least 50% from the field goal, 40% from 3-point range, and 90% from the free-throw line in order to be included in the 50-40-90 club.
Since its inception, only 8 players have been able to achieve this feat. These players are Larry Bird (2), Steve Nash (4), Malcolm Brogdon, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and Mark Price. We will have a look at each of these players in the article and how they managed to accomplish such a feat.
Larry Bird managed to enter the 50-40-90 club in 2 consecutive seasons from 1986 to 1988. The Boston Celtics legend was simply phenomenal and it not a surprising fact that in both of these seasons Bird was included in the All-NBA First Team. He was a central figure for the Celtics and in the second season, he slightly overstepped the required criteria. Larry was shooting 53% from the field, 41% from a 3-point range, and 92 from the free-throw line.
One of the most consistent shooters in the NBA, Mark Price was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers when he managed to clinch this accomplishment and deservedly cement his status in the 50-40-90 club. He did not become MVP that season, nor was included in the first team, though like Bird, he was a pivotal figure for his club. In addition to 50-40-90 Price averaged 18.8 points during the season.
Reggie Miller is one of the best shooters of all time from any range. He is one of such players who has never managed to win a championship title, even though he clearly deserved it. Miller spent his entire career in the Indiana Pacers and joined the 50-40-90 club in 1994. It should also be pointed out that Reggie also averaged almost 20 points per game during that season.
To this day Steven Nash holds the record for repeating the same feat 4 times and it is unlikely that someone will break his record. The Canadian, known for his incredible passing, assisting, playmaking skills, was also great at shooting – especially from the free-throw range and Nash was barely missing any 1-point shots. Besides he was an accurate shooter from the field. In the 2006-07 season, Nash was able to do this accomplishment 5 times in a row but he only lacked 0.01%. Making one precise free throw would actually allow him to go for the incredible achievement, but unfortunately, he did not manage to do it.
The season which we were talking about was claimed by Dirk Nowitzki – arguably the greatest European player in the NBA of all time. It is actually pretty strange to see such statistics from power forward. Generally, 50-40-90 is mostly achieved by shooting guards or point guards, but the German player is an exception. During the 2006-2007 season not only Nowitzki became a member of the club, but also got the MVP title in the regular season. A lot of viewers will remember his fanatics shooting from the 2011 NBA Finals, where he was simply unstoppable against the Miami Heat, making some of the hardest shots and shooting accurately from the free-throw line.
In 2013, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder became the sixth player to join the club. It was a season when Russell Westbrook got injured in the playoffs against the Houston Rockets and the burden was loaded on Durant’s shoulders. In the regular season, KD was clinical. However his stats were not enough to claim the MVP title and LeBron James managed to beat him, but this season will still be remembered.
Steph is probably the best 3-point shooter of all time. He is able to execute one of the hardest shots from any spot on the court. Playing for the Golden State Warriors, during the 2015-2016 season not only Curry joined the club, but he made 402 3-pointers out of 886! That’s 45% and considering how many shots he makes every game that is an incredible achievement. From the free-throw line, Steph is fantastic as well and such statistics were enough for him to become the MVP in 2016.
We have come to the final player. Malcolm Brogdon as of 2021, remains the eighth and final player to become a member of the club, achieving this feat for the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2018-2019 season. Though one thing clearly makes Brogdon’s achievement less superior to his counterparts – he only played 64 games during the regular season and converted fewer shots, but still, this is something that every player would have dreamed of in their careers.
Who else is a member of the club?
In the NBA, there are no other players who can boast of being a member of the 50-40-90 club but in the WNBA, Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics managed to accomplish this record in 2019. She was shooting 52% from the field, 43% from the 3-point goal, and 97% from the free-throw missing only 3 shots. She is currently the sole female holding this record and none of the others have come closer.