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Man made million dollar shot during basketball game only for company to not intend on paying him
Featured Image Credit: NBA

Man made million dollar shot during basketball game only for company to not intend on paying him

Don Calhoun celebrated with the Chicago Bulls in April 1993 after making the impossible shot, but the real chaos began afterwards.

A man who made a million dollar shot during a basketball game went on to discover the insurance company that pledged the money didn't want to pay him.

Don Calhoun celebrated thinking he had instantly become a millionaire after he made an immaculate shot during a timeout in the third quarter of a Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat game over two decades ago, on April 14, 1993. Take a look:

The shot, which has come to be known as The Calhoun Shot and Immaculate Connection, was part of a promotion that offered $1 million to any fan who could make a 80-foot shot through the basket from the free-throw line at the opposite end of the basketball court.

The odds of Calhoun throwing the ball through the net was less than 1 percent, which is why everyone at Chicago Stadium celebrated - including NBA legend Michael Jordan - as they had just watched history unfold before their eyes. The footage became a viral sensation for ‘90s standards, meaning that everyone talked about it after watching it happen. Calhoun’s face was printed in newspapers and news stations broadcasted the clip so much that Calhoun became a star.

The Chicago Bulls had held the promotion 19 times that year so far and nobody else came close, that was until Calhoun managed to swish the ball through the net.

Don Calhoun made the impossible shot.

But it was only after he made the shot that the real chaos began to unfold.

While Calhoun looked exactly like a man who just became $1m richer, the insurance company that was required to pay Calhoun his well-deserved cash, American Hole 'N One Inc, voided the payment when it found out that Calhoun had played college basketball - a violation of the rules.

Insurance companies tend to be strict when it comes to the fine print. Contestants must be randomly selected from the crowd and teams must explain the rules to people taking part.

ABC7 Chicago reports that it’s not unusual for franchises to end up paying contestants themselves if there are any issues. One common stipulation is that contestants can’t have played in an ‘organised’ version of the sport in question before the contest.

Don thought he instantly became a millionaire.

That is what ended up happening to Calhoun.

The sponsors of the event, Coca-Cola, the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, and the Bulls, pledged to cover the prize if the insurance company would not.

As a result, Calhoun got $50,000 a year over the next 20 years. He kept his office supplies salesman job and received $38,000 each year after taxes until 2013.

"In reality, you're not rich," he told ABC7 Chicago. "You're not a millionaire."

As of 2023, the ball that was used to make the shot is now in the possession of Calhoun’s son.

Topics: Sport, Basketball, NBA