The Calhoun Shot
DateApril 14, 1993 (1993-04-14)
VenueChicago Stadium
LocationChicago, Illinois
Also known asThe Immaculate Connection
TypePromotional event
Budget$1 million
Organized by
ParticipantsDon Calhoun

The Calhoun Shot, also known as the Immaculate Connection,[1][2] was a basketball shot made by spectator Don Calhoun during a timeout in the third quarter of a Chicago BullsMiami Heat game on April 14, 1993.[3][4][5] The shot was part of a promotion that offered 1 million dollars to any fan who could make a 75-foot shot through the basket from the free-throw line at the opposite end of the court.[6][7] At the time, Calhoun's shot was reported as the first time anyone ever made a three-quarters promotional shot. In actuality, a spectator had succeeded in this shot in 1989, winning a car.[4]

The insurance company that was required to make the payoff, American Hole 'N One Inc, voided the payment because Calhoun had played college basketball, a violation of the rules. However, 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.[8] The insurance company still benefited from the publicity.[4] The shot, and the news coverage it gained, are credited with the rise of similar promotions during sport events.[1][9]

Contestant

Don Calhoun was at the time an office supplies salesman.[10][11] He had played basketball for Bloomington High School and later for Triton College during the 1988–1989 season. Following the shot, he signed a one-year contract with the Harlem Globetrotters.[12][13]

He later continued to work with office supplies, getting approximately $38,000 (after taxes) every year until 2013. He characterized the money as nice, but not something that made him feel rich. Thirty years after making the shot, Calhoun lives in the Midwest and has four children, one of whom was able to earn a college degree (the first in the family to do so) and later a medical degree partly thanks to his father's prize money.[1]

As of 2023, the ball that was used to make the shot is in the possession of Calhoun's son, Dr. Clarence Calhoun II.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Ryan Hockensmith (11 April 2023). "The $1 million shot that changed sports contests forever". ESPN. Retrieved 15 April 2023. It dropped, and dropped, and dropped, and... swish. Right through the net. Calhoun threw his arms toward the rafters, and the crowd let out one of those levels of cheers that aggravates the arena neighbors.
  2. ^ Lisa Bessone (26 April 1993). "Don Calhoun". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Flashback: Bulls fan drains $1 million shot in 1993". ESPN. 11 April 2023. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Nancy Ryan (16 April 1993). "Million-dollar shot: Who pays for miracle?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  5. ^ Pamela Swanigan (28 May 1994). "All that glitters". The Vancouver Sun. pp. D10–D11. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  6. ^ Michael Wilbon (16 April 1993). "Long shot comes home a million-dollar winner". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  7. ^ "Chicago Bulls: 'Million Dollar Shot' man will get his money". United Press International. 18 April 1993. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  8. ^ Mal Florence (20 April 1993). "Insurance Company Tries to Call a Technical on $1-Million Shot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  9. ^ Mark Kram (14 April 1994). "Same guy, only richer". Philadelphia Daily News. pp. 84–85. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  10. ^ Stefan Schürle (14 April 2023). "Der verrückteste Wurf der Geschichte?". Sport1 (in German). Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  11. ^ Ira Berkow (28 April 1993). "Making the Shot Michael Couldn't Make". New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  12. ^ Jay Horning (13 March 1994). "$1-million basket changed his life". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  13. ^ "One-Shot Wonder Now A 'Trotter". The Seattle Times. 17 January 1994. Retrieved 15 April 2023.