The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the NBA’s worst teams from long distance this season, ranking 25th out of 30 NBA teams in 3-pointers made and dead last in 3-point accuracy. All that’s about to change, though, because on Sunday afternoon, they found a marksman with range all the way out to half court:
Between the third and fourth quarters of the Lakers’ Sunday win over the New York Knicks, a fan named Suni Strong stepped onto the court at Staples Center, approached the timeline, heaved up a bomb and watched it bank off the glass and through the net. His prize for successfully conquering the Mandalay Bay Big Shot Jackpot? A cool $100,000.
According to the Lakers, the 27-year-old Strong is only the sixth fan ever to win the Big Shot Jackpot since its inception 11 seasons ago. (Vlade Divac knocked it down once, but he’s kind of a ringer.) We’re not completely sure of this, but as of press time, we believe that Strong is the first Big Shot Jackpot winner who also works on rocket technology and hunts down fugitives:
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 21, 2018
From the Orange County Register:
In addition to his job at Space-X, he said he works as a bounty hunter and was featured last year in the since-canceled A&E show “Akil the Fugitive Hunter.”
He attended the game with his nephew, Zosier, and said he was approached about shooting for the money when he entered Staples Center.
“When I first walked in I said have my check ready,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it. I had to.”
Asked if he called “bank,” Strong replied, “Why would I do that? I called money.”
Even better, according to Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com: Strong and the friends he grew up with Palmdale, Calif., used to call it something else.
“To be 100 percent honest, we used to play around at the park and we would shoot that shot and call it ‘dignity,’” said Strong, who played high school basketball for Highland High. “To put someone off the court, we would throw it up and scream dignity.”
As delightful as that image is, it pales in comparison to Strong immediately insisting that he’s been ready to be an even bigger baller. From Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
After he made it, he pointed at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who missed Sunday’s game with an Achilles tendon injury.
“I told them I should’ve been a Laker,” Strong said. “I told KCP.”
Julius Randle gave him a fist-bump.
As you might expect he would, Strong continued to have some fun with his bucket-getting windfall after the game:
I mean, wouldn’t you if you’d just won 100 stacks and had Lakers coach Luke Walton singing your praises?
After the game, Walton was asked if he’d consider signing Strong to a 10-day contract.
“We are looking for shooting so yeah, not a bad idea. … He’s a bounty hunter? This guy gets better and better each time,” Walton said.
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