Stephen Bass was getting a lot of love Valentine’s Day, mostly from strangers.
“People have been coming up to me, giving hugs. It’s different, it’s a lot of fun,” Bass says. “People are just coming up saying ‘Dude, that was awesome, that was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen’ with their arms open wide. I just have to step into them, just give them a hug… I was eating dinner and some people were like, ‘are you that guy?’”
He’s that guy.
On Wednesday, the Auburn sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tenn. was selected to participate in the Golden Flake Tuition Shootout—making a layup, a free throw, 3-pointer and a half-court shot in 24 seconds—during halftime of Auburn’s night game against Arkansas.
Auburn lost, Bass won.
But it wasn’t really what he won–not that it’s anything to sneeze at for a college student, but $5,000 in tuition wouldn’t normally pack the viral punch of most OMG basketball shot videos–but how he won that turned Bass into That Guy.
He only had four seconds left after making the 3-pointer (on his third attempt) to make his half court shot. It should have been impossible. Instead, it was nothing but net… in the opposite basket. It was ingenious. But was it legal?
“When it went in it got very loud very quickly and it was exciting, but the only thing going through my mind was ‘did it count, did it leave my hand in time?’” Bass says. “I had no idea if that shot would have been allowed.”
Bass says he knew trying to shoot on the original goal “would have been a waste regardless. It barely made it as it was. I couldn’t have turned around. I though about [shooting on the opposite basket] briefly before. But I just kind of remember looking up and seeing the camera man under the basket and realizing at that point that you’re probably not supposed to do this, but what they heck, I ‘ll give it a try… there was nothing in the rules about, it so it stood.”
And his life hasn’t been the same since. Auburn Athletics Dept. posted video of the shot to YouTube, which was quickly put up on al.com, The War Eagle Reader, and even found its way to Mashable.com. He appeared on local Auburn radio sports talk show The Drive. Then ESPN came calling.
“I was on ESPN, on Around The Horn, so that’s been crazy,” he says. “It’s been pretty crazy, a lot different than I expected.”
Speaking of expectations, where’s the money, Golden Flake?
“They said they were working through it and that they would be in touch in the next 48 hours,” Bass says. “I honestly think it kind of caught the people off guard. I don’t think they thought it would ever happen.”
Photo: Tod Van Emst.
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