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Michael Phelps joins Arizona State basketball’s ‘Curtain of Distraction’

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)


The man behind the curtain wore a skimpy swimsuit and cap, a bow tie and several gold medals.

On Thursday night, Michael Phelps dressed to dive in the pool but instead joined the Arizona State basketball fan base’s “Curtain of Distraction,” a tradition of attempting to psych out opposing teams’ free-throw shooters.

Arizona State won 86-68 over Oregon State, with the Beavers free-throw shooter missing both shots with Phelps in his sight line.

Minutes later, Phelps joined the Pac-12 Network broadcast team to discuss his antics.

“That’s the first time that I’ve seen the Curtain of Distraction this year,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see that. He made a major contribution to the game tonight. ... We really appreciate him helping take two points off the board for us.”

Phelps, a 22-time Olympic medalist, moved to Arizona last year with his longtime Baltimore-based coach, Bob Bowman, who took over as the school’s swim coach.

MORE: Phelps to stay in coaching after retirement

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