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Michael Phelps discusses ‘Curtain of Distraction’ appearance

Michael Phelps

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, center, performs behind the “Curtain of Distraction” during an Oregon State free throw against Arizona State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)


New Arizona resident Michael Phelps remembers his first time attending an Arizona State basketball game, looking behind the opposing team’s basket for his first glimpse of the “Curtain of Distraction.”

“What is going on over there?” Phelps thought to himself.

On Thursday night, Phelps experienced it, dancing in a skimpy swimsuit, bow tie and a bunch of gold medals to distract an opponent shooting free throws (video here). It worked.

“I looked at one of the Oregon State players, and he 100 percent looked right at us,” Phelps said minutes later in an interview on the Pac-12 Network. “Then they missed the free throw.”

Phelps has said he will retire after the Rio Olympics but remain in Tempe as a volunteer assistant for longtime coach Bob Bowman, now the Arizona State swim coach.

“To be in this atmosphere for an extending period of time is something that I’m looking forward to,” Phelps said.

Phelps also mentioned in the broadcast interview that Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr taught him how to shoot free throws in a Las Vegas hotel room.

MORE: Phelps shares goal sheet from young age on ‘Undeniable’

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