Slate has a cool piece on an attempt to use "science" to win at basketball. The idea is for fans to create the appearance of a moving background for opposing free-throw shooters (rather than just waving stuff around randomly). The piece includes this cool idea (which probably wouldn't be legal):
Whitney suggests that it would be easy to create an improved version of the thunder stick that becomes more noticeable when waved in one direction. One such device might work by hanging LEDs inside a hollow tube with holes in it. When swung to the right, the LEDs would be visible through the holes, creating spots of light that would vanish when the stick went back to the left. As hundreds of fans shook the sticks wildly, the shooter would see something that looked like a flurry of snow drifting in one direction.