While the Los Angeles Lakers were working toward snapping a two-game losing streak and gaining ground in the Western Conference standings, Staples Center witnessed Dean Tran of Camarillo, Calif., win $100,000 by sinking a half-court shot during the Park MGM Big Shot Jackpot.
Tran is the ninth winner of the contest, though Vlade Divac made his on behalf of charity. The promotion began during the 2006-07 season. Tran is the second winner this season, as Ali Sabbouri of Anaheim, Calif., won $30,000 on Oct. 22, 2018.
Prior to Sabbouri, the Park MGM Big Shot Jackpot was memorably won by bounty hunter and Space-X employee Suni Strong Jan. 21, 2018. He too hit on a $100,000 jackpot.
Where Tran and Sabbouri differed from most winners before them was in not needing the backboard to make the shot. Tran calmly stepped into his shot and hopped forward on his right leg with his left leg extended behind him.
With fans cheering wildly, Tran capped off the excitement by mimicking one of LeBron James’ signature celebrations.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 28, 2019
The moment arguably almost never came to be, as Tran thought about attempting the shot backward, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
Tran, a college counselor from Camarillo, wanted to shoot his attempt between the third and fourth quarters of the game backward. He was talked out of taking the stunt quite that far. “It would’ve been epic,” Tran said.
He’s been practicing trick shots since he was about seven years old. He’s made half-court shots many times in his life. He’s made them backward and forward.
“I just had to visualize it, block out everybody and take my shot,” Tran said.
After Tran provided a memorable highlight, the Lakers did the same with an entertaining fourth quarter that saw James hit a dramatic 3-pointer to help seal the win.
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