You're at the edge of your seat, your fists are clinched tight, your eyes begin to widen, your team is just fleeting seconds away from winning the game, and just as you spring from your perch in celebration, LeBron James heaves one from half court and hits nothing but the bottom of the net.
We honor one of the greatest trick shot artists in NBA history with a countdown of the 50 best half court shots (where career- and apparently world-altering decisions never have to be made on live TV).
Also check out: The 50 Greatest Football Catches of All Time
This one isn't technically a half court shot, but it's still ridiculous. How often do you get to see a half court alley-oop? This pass from Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas to teammate JaVale McGee was a sweet side effect to doing the research for all these shots.
Now on to the real countdown...
This high school video makes me feel sad for the losing team, specifically one player. But also, believe it or not, the guy who hits the winning shot.
First, there's one guy on the losing team who got it worse than the rest of them. Watch closely for what happens right before Gilchrist picks up the ball.
Secondly, I'd rather be a contest winner and get some cash for making a half court shot than be the player that gets gang hugged by teammates trying to pull off my jersey and pin me to the wall....
In all seriousness, congrats to Gilchrist on being the hero.
Don't tell Kobe he can't make a half court shot following a foul. That's like asking for this to happen.
The Lakers were trailing at the time, and spoiled Staples Center fans were still treated to a show.
I guess when your name is Gilbert, you already feel like a zero. Therefore, you put the number on your back.
Then you feel as a zero, no one will pay attention to you, so you take guns into the locker room.
When no one is afraid of your shot, you make one from 3/4 court and suddenly you're still a zero, but a zero with a big mouth and occasional swagger.
According to the caption on YouTube, Whitworth University invited Special Olympians to take the court during halftime of one of their games. The event was created to promote the Polar Bear Plunge, a Special Olympics event.
Check out Olympian Scott Tobin as he drains a half court shot as time expires. Unfortunately, the homemade tape doesn't show the entire flight of the ball, but c'mon, it's still sweet and 100 percent authentic!
Watch as the Oklahoma City Thunder players stand around, waiting for the shot clock buzzer to go off while Williams retrieves the deflected pass at half court.
Next, watch their amazement as Williams lets it fly and it cruises through the rim and down the nylon.
The best part about this shot: It was a fairly close game (Cleveland lead 91-87) with enough time on the clock for OKC to mount a comeback, and the trey pretty much put the game on ice.
Well this video didn't grab the top spot, but spy this great home video of a game-winning buzzer beater.
No info with player names is provided.
In 2007, while playing for the Houston Rockets, Bonzi Wells hit this shot from the Miami Heat's three-point line.
Technically not a half court shot, but how can you not include this shot in the countdown?
Ok, so the title of this slide makes no sense, but I love Jurassic Park, so any chance I get to reference the movie...
Seriously though, check out the quick catch and release by Darrell Armstrong to beat the buzzer against the Toronto Raptors.
What could be worse than someone cashing a half court shot on you? How about those Toronto Raptors uniforms? Yikes!
"Brad Van Fechtmann heaves it from about 70 feet to break the 66-66 tie with 0.8 seconds and gives East Greenwich the 69-66 victory against Mt. Hope on 1/10/09."
Back when Adam Morrison actually played, he proved why he's useful in the half court heave-ho.
Check out Adam as he splits two defenders with their hands high and rattles it home.
Teammates Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen were caught on camera goofing off at the Celtics' shootaround. The fellas took practice's name to heart, shooting all over the court, including these one-handed, over-the-back half courties.
During pregame warm ups, Dwight Howard wound up and let it fly with a signature leg kick...shake...um dangle...whatever.
Just check out the sweet underhand and the serious swish.
From about 60 feet, Terrence Williams drains this one against the Heat as the first quarter comes to an end. It's amazing that the Nets can make these long shots but seem to score about 80 points a game.
Maybe if the point guard took the inbounds pass and just threw it at the hoop, they may win 15 games instead of 12 a season.
This shot is taken from almost-directly center court. Nothing majorly special about this one.
Are you still reading this? Just click to the next slide already. No seriously, click.
Interception and touchdown? Close enough for a young Chris Bosh as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
Watch as Bosh steps in front of the intended receiver, makes the pick, turns up field, and lets it fly to the hoop (OK, couldn't think of a football reference for the shot, get over it!).
In the first 13 seconds of this clip, D-Wade jumps like Tarzan and lets one fly one-handed. It finds the bottom of the net, but alas, doesn't count because it was after the whistle. Still, ridiculous!
"Does that go in? You bet it does!"
Captivating commentary accompanies the back half of this video as LeBron James sinks an underhanded toss from just beyond half court.
It didn't count, but the coordination necessary to spin and toss accurately like this is ridiculous.
Nothing but net, and I'm sure Kevin still passes out business cards with the link to this clip.
"Look what I can do!"
Not the usual, casual trick shot from LeBron James. This time the King takes this one from the other free-throw line and makes a perfect shot to beat the buzzer.
You can't see it in the video, but the other Cavs players didn't seem to think it was anything out of the ordinary...
Sarunas Jasikevicius (save your applause, I copy/pasted his name in here) sinks one from the length of the floor. Not only did he make the shot, but he got to beat Spain.
"From Pre-Eurobasket games, Spain vs. Lithuania. Sarunas Jasikevicius scores from his own basket, simply awesome. Capped by Chapu#5 of hoops4life.com team and copyright of respective owners. Visit hoops4life.com for more NBA clips."
"Me oh my! BINGO!"
Listen to the commentators point out the obvious repeatedly as they announce the validity and technique of this sick one-hander from then-Clipper Corey Maggette.
This is the king-size version of hot potato. Not even enough time to catch and bring in to the body, just use your hands like a spring and let it go. We'll hear from Baron Davis again a little later in the countdown.
"Caledon Cougar player hits an amazing buzzer beater from half-court. Great shot...nothing but net. If only Gordon Hayward could have done the same." - YouTube caption
"While talking to 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, LeBron James showed off his skill by netting a ball from the top of the key into the opposite net."
What's in the water in Portland? Apparently actual fish (blows your mind doesn't it, Los Angeles?) and something else that makes people still say "Goodness Gracious!" (What does that even mean?)
This one is a tandem effort as two fans go back-to-back and win grand prizes.
Check out Jackie Earle Haley (Freddy Krueger, Rorschach) in this clip from Semi-Pro. We are taking a quick break from the rest of the countdown to grace this little ditty.
Ok, back to the rest of the countdown.
If you look closely at this video, it's actually a one-handed grenade-style toss. Just in case you don't want to pay attention to the video for the first 40 seconds, you can still catch it a couple more times.
Seriously, there must be six or seven replays of this shot from four or five different angles. Enjoy the mini sports version of Vantage Point.
Woohoo! Yippee! Ye-Ha! (I guarantee you some self-righteous, self-appointed editor will comment with the correct spelling of each of those.)
Silly white boy sank one granny-style to cash in on nearly 80 grand. Enjoy the cash and the complimentary dancing lessons!
"Jake Lee takes the #1 spot on ESPN's Top Plays with his game winning 82 foot buzzer beater shot."
It almost looked like Butler was sitting on Lincoln's statue's lap as he hits this one to beat the clock.
OK, Caron, but can you do that wading through the reflection pool? Didn't think so...
Check out the over-the-back shot from the Clippers dancer. Maybe in some kind of electrical storm Baron Davis and this chick switched bodies.
I've always wanted to date a hot chick that sounds like Ja Rule....
Maybe Howard wants to take a break from catch-and-release and just catch a big mouth bass. I heard a chance at boosting ego is all the bait you need to catch Paul Pierce...
Either the TV needs adjusting, or that court is really white. What makes this shot so amazing is West's ability to keep both stones in his short-shorts while heaving the ball as hard as he can.
Victory for you, Mr. West.
After the genius cameraman finally turns off the night vision, Kobe bets a doubter an insane amount of push-ups, then sinks the shot left-handed.
Hate on, haters.
Ya...I couldn't think of a better title for this slide. Sorry, this is the free version.
Anyhoo, check out this toss. Jason Kidd makes it look easy from the Clippers' free-throw line at the halftime buzzer.
Perhaps the youngest entry to the countdown, scope this one from a 9-year-old in the Savage Boys and Girls Club Championship Game.
The team that's not Erik's scores. Erik's teammate inbounds the ball to Erik. Erik catches the ball, Erik takes a step, Erik takes the shot, Erik makes a full court buzzer beater!
There hasn't been much excitement on a basketball court in New Jersey in...where am I? What year is this?
The last thing I remember was trying to think of a time when the Nets were good. Anyway, Devin Harris is ridiculous, getting fouled and cashing in. Take the free throw and donate it to charity, 'cause he don't need it!
Heave-Ho? Why didn't you say so?
I'll throw the ball the length of the court, and we'll walk off with a victory of sorts.
Apparently East Bridgewater Summer League is where it's at. Watch Mark Climo frisbee this one the length of the court straight to the hoop.
A note to all those trying to make a name for yourself on YouTube: Keep the ball in the shot! If this is legit, it's pretty sweet. If it's fake, it's pretty sour.
How long were the quarters in this game? After four quarters, the game-winning shot comes from underneath the opposite basket. The final score? 44-43.
This one looks too raw to be doctored. What do you think?
This one is called, "for the hell of it." Watch Rasheed Wallace drain this full court shot from inside the half-circle of his own basket.
This one is a dual threat too: Gotta love the old court at Key Arena, where the Seattle Supersonics used to reign.
This one seems too good to be true. In a digital age where nothing is as it seems, this shot is plain ridiculous. The full court heave from the opposite end line off his back foot just shouldn't be possible.
Who is in this video!? Come forward! Anyway, 1.6 seconds left, shot won the game.
Dwight Howard goes no-look for this half court toss during pregame in this awesome video with a blonde white girl standing courtside.
The cinematography in this one is perfect as the eye-level camera catches her while it makes the shot look even longer.
I got nothin'...........
During pregame entertainment for the 2009 Celebrity Charity Game at NBA All-Star Weekend, Rufus, the Charlotte Bobcats' mascot, tossed a basketball backwards and over his head. It ricochet off the groin of Bango, the Milwaukee Bucks' mascot, and through the hoop.
The Bucks' mascot really Bango'ed the basketball (You know I had to do it).
Wipe that ball off before the game...unless Andy Dick is playing, I guess (Too easy? Perhaps...).
So the gag goes like this: Blindfold the contestant and spin them around. Next, tell them to take a shot. The whole crowd is in on it, and acts as though the ball went in.
When Joel Branstrom's high school promised NCAA Final Four tickets, they expected to get a great laugh out of the whole thing. However, the joke was on the high school, as Branstrom nailed the shot.
"No such luck. The students never had the promised tickets, so they wound up buying him a gift card to a Mexican restaurant.
"'Some of the kids felt absolutely horrible that they didn't have tickets,' Branstrom said. 'But that's not what it's all about. We got some smiles, it was a feel-good moment.'
"Brad Keepes, a senior at Olathe Northwest who helped organize the prank, said Branstrom has a great sense of humor and the students knew he could take a joke. He said he has been told several people are offering to donate tickets so Branstrom can go to the Final Four.
"'I could not pick a better person that deserves to go,' he said."
Jay're Jackson gets his Christmas present in this one. If you are watching this video and you are wondering why there is a missed shot on this countdown, watch it again, but this time, all the way through.
The ball takes two big bounces off the backboard before finally dropping through the net. Unbelievable!
Well, it's not a miss in my book. Watch this poor kid get domed while running across the baseline.
As a kid makes a desperate attempt to get the ball to the hoop, it falls short and way wide, striking a kid in the head and knocking him to the floor. Haha, ah, enjoy...
Oklahoma State's Byron Eaton makes an unbelievable shot that should rank high on the all-time list of impressive shots, but not for poise.
Eaton attempts to save the ball from going out of bounds, but winds up receiving credit for an extra three points as his toss find the bottom of the net.
Even though you can't see him, Eaton fell over while getting rid of the ball. He deserves the No. 1 spot for this wicked awesome effort!