Ranking the Most Impressive Half-Court Shots Ever
The half-court basket. Chest heaves. Sky hooks. Granny shots. In our minds we see the ball arc through the air and then gently, but epically, swish through the net.
But as we all know, it (almost) never works that way. The half-court basket is an elusive creature that only a select few have known.
Often attempted out of time-waning desperation, they are the Hail Mary's of basketball. They represent hope, audacity, rebellion.
Click on to see the half-court magic.
20. Coach Gary Blair Bowls One in
The Texas A&M women's head coach bedazzled a small gathering with this lob.
Epic-ness: 4 (Not a big crowd, but respect of players at stake)
Finesse: 3 (Is he bowling or shooting a basket?)
Deduction: -3 points for the post-shot channeling of a seizure-wracked velociraptor
19. Rhett Brown's Lucky Sevens
On February 27, 2009, Shaq had an phenomenal game, racking up 45 points—"his biggest offensive performance in six years."
But it was Suns fan Rhett Brown who really made the news that night. His half-court basket won him $77,777 dollars from a local casino.
Epic-ness: 4 (A whole arena watching)
Finesse: 1 (Hey, for a granny shot he's lucky to get anything in this category. )
18. The Hasselbeck/Harnish #8 Challenge
Matt Hasselbeck becomes a Colt in the off season. His beloved jersey number (8) is already occupied by Colt QB Chandler Harnish.
Not one to fret, Hasselbeck comes up with a friendly wager: Harnish attempts a half-court shot. If he sinks it, Hasselbeck pays him eight large, but Harnish must also then cough up the numero ocho.
Epic-ness: 2 (Come on, Harnish is (a) already an athlete, and (b) from Indiana.)
Finesse: 5 (A little too jump-skippy, don't you think?)
17. The LeBron Embrace
The yellow-hooded wizard is Michael Drysch, a computer technician. He won $75,000 dollars from LeBron James' foundation for making this shot.
Epic-ness: 5 (whole arena watching)
Finesse: 1 (But hey, for 75K, whatever works, my man)
Bonus: + 2 points for taking the sweaty LeBron tackle and roll like a real man.
16. Coach Gil Cheung's Tuition Shot
No one was winning the halftime get-free-tuition-with-a-half-court-basket contest at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada.
Not a big surprise. Let's face it, despite the multiple success in these slides, odds are not good.
So the school changed up the rules a bit. Contestants can select a pinch shooter.
Student Mason Kaluzniak was no dummy. When he became a contestant, he chose the basketball head coach.
Epic-ness: 3 (Just a local coach in front of a local crowd. Also, he was a coach and former player, so not a huge surprise.)
Finesse: 7 (Run-of-the-mill thrust. Not bad form, but no real personal signature.)
Deduction: -1 for the open-armed circling airplane celebration. What is it with these coaches and their celebrations?!
15. Look Ma, No Hands
According to the uploader's description, the kid made this header on his second attempt. If so, impressive. If not, well, still pretty darned impressive.
Epic-ness: 2 (not much at stake but a handful of brain cells that get killed off whether he makes the shot or not)
Finesse: 8 (this could have easily gone wobbly chicken head or butting bull head, so the guy gets his props)
14. Look Ma, No Eyes
The students of Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas decided to punk beloved girl's basketball coach Joel Branstrom. They told him if he made a blindfolded half-court shot, he'd win NCAA Final Four tickets.
To everyone's dismay coach nailed the shot. A video of the wonder-basket went viral and when the kind folks over at the NCAA saw it and heard the circumstances, they decided to make good on the students' bogus offer.
Epic-ness:4 (A pep rally needs pep. A fail would have been pep-draining. Also, a coach needs to show up his players now and then, doesn't he?)
Finesse: 6 (a little too long with the follow-through limp hand in the air)
But wait, the story doesn't end there...
13. Look Ma, No Eyes: The Sequel
Rob Low, a local Fox news reporter was filming a story on Coach Branstrom's amazing blindfolded shot when this one in a bajillion basket left the news crew paralyzed with disbelief.
Epic-ness:3 (Just a skeleton news crew present. No one expected him—or even necessarily wanted him to make the shot as missing would help prove how impossible the shot was.)
Finesse: 2 (like a playground bully playing "hot potato")
Bonus: + 5 for astounding fluke-ishness
12. High School Freshman Beats the Buzzer
Freshman Jordan Thomas of DePaul High School pulled off a half-court miracle just as the overtime buzzer sounded (the score was tied). DePaul had been down 15 points in the fourth quarter, so Jordan's shot was the cherry atop this comeback sundae.
Epic-ness: 8 (overtime+comeback+championship game+buzzer beater)
Finesse: 6 (A little panicked and spastic, but understandable given the epic-ness)
11. Out on a Rim
Friday, January 11, 2013.
Halftime at the Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah Jazz game.
A Hawks season ticket holder known in the press simply as "Kevin," attempts the half-court shot for a payout of ten Benjamins.
It' up... and it's... still up.
Things seemed to work out for Kevin. Announcers implied that he would get the prize money, the Hawks won the game, and the lapse in Earth's gravitational pull proved to be momentary.
Epic-ness: 4 (A whole arena watching)
Finesse: 5 (A little dopey in form. Kev-bo didn't seem to know what to do with his left hand. )
Bonus: +2 for outsmarting the rules of the physical world
10. Freddy Cortez Punts One in
Freddy Cortez has got kicks. Accurate ones. Last season the Kent State kicker became the all-time leading scorer in Kent State football history.
Perhaps bored with so much on-the-field success, he figured he'd see how his talents translated on the court.
Epic-ness: 5 (Just some fancy trick-shottery, unclear if multiple attempts were made)
Finesse: 7 (slow and calm approach, nice follow-through)
9. Heath Kufahl Puts Prize Money to Good Cause
This is a sweet victory story. At half time of an OKC vs. Rockets game on March 5, 2013, Thunder fan Heath Kufahl made this contest-winning shot.
For making the shot, Kufahl took home a much needed 20K. See, he has seven kids and his wife has been diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. The money will help pay for mounting medical bills.
Epic-ness: 6 (whole arena watching, but Kufahl is a basketball coach, so not a huge surprise)
Finesse: 7 (watch the follow-though hand posture morph into the extended index finger of victory)
8. Fisher Floyd Goes Four for Four
Fisher Floyd kept his cool and swished all four shots—climaxed by a half-court beauty—in this half time contest.
Sadly a few years later, Floyd died in a plane crash.
Mavericks coach Carlisle dedicated a December 2012 Dallas win over the 76ers to Floyd, who was a huge Mavericks fan and a season ticket holder.
Epic-ness: 6 (whole arena watching)
Finesse: 8 (the man moved with confidence and grace)
Bonus +1 because Floyd had to nail the whole sequence of shots (layup, free-throw line, 3-pointer, half-court)
7. Devon Harris' Lunging Buzzer Beater
After the game, Nets coach Lawrence Frank called Harris's 47-footer a "freakish" shot and said that the basketball gods had been with his team on that night.
Epic-ness: 7 (At the buzzer, Nets down by one, a loss would have extended a five-game losing streak)
Finesse: 6 (pretty run-of-the-mill lunge)
Bonus: +2 points for making the shot with a defender in his face
6. Cheerleader Flips One in
William Carey University cheerleader Ashlee Arnau made this beauty on her fifth attempt at halftime during the last home game of the season.
Epic-ness: 5 (Just some fancy trick-shottery and multiple attempts were allowed)
Finesse: 10 (Giving Ashlee the benefit of doubt here as the rubric for this shot has yet to be written. We are in new territory here.)
5. Dwayne Wade's Sixty-Eight Footer
Wade was deep in home territory when he launched this ICBM (Impossibly Crazy Basket Maker) right at the third quarter buzzer.
The shot wasn't enough to win the March 2012 game for Miami but brought a monster thrill to everyone who witnessed it.
Epic-ness: 6 (Buzzer beater, but third quarter. Regular season game.)
Finesse: 5 (Not bad considering the lunge and thrust needed for this distance could easily have made him look ridiculous)
Bonus: +4—one point for each step he was beyond mid-court.
4. Half Pint, Half Court
Meet Austen Worthen. He's in the third grade. Yeah, you know that grade that begins just about 800 days after you finish kindergarten. Nice shot, kiddo.
Epic-ness: 7 (Everything is epic when you're a kid. A buzzer beater then is epically epic.)
Finesse: 9 (on a different rubric, of course)
Bonus: + 1 (Who knew a little kid even had the muscle to hurl a ball that far?)
3. Brittney Sykes' Buzzer Beater
Syracuse Freshman Brittney Sykes' brought glory unto herself and all things Orange with this half-court buzzer beater in a January 23, 2013 game against St. John's.
Epic-ness:9 (Buzzer beater, for a Big East Conference win.)
Finesse: 7 (watch the slick segue from steal to rocket launch)
Bonus: + 1 because Sykes is just a freshman
Bonus: + 1 because the steal was from Sykes' former high school teammate
2. Trevor Releford's Buzzer Beater
Alabama's Trevor Releford put a quick end to an overtime-bound game with this staggeringly sick basket.
Epic-ness: 8 (At the buzzer, tie score, a win for the Tide would salvage "fading hopes of an at-large NCAA tournament bid.")
Finesse: 10 (Watch the slow-mo replay at about 39 sec. Could there possibly ever be a more graceful launch and thrust?)
1. Chubby Boy Becomes Hero
Kids with a little extra heft are often the last one picked in gym class. Then when the game is on, the chunksters won't likely see a lot of action.
But folks, never count a game over until the fat kid flings.
Epic-ness: 9 (Seemingly a buzzer beater)
Finesse: 6 (something of a backward flour-sack toss)
Bonus: +5 for swiveling and throwing blind. Guess the kid figured if he was going to miss, he'd do it in style.