At one point Carlos Mayorga, of Queens, thought he had a chance to beat Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers in a game of one-on-one.
The score was 6-6, and then Chalmers won with the next shot.
"I think he wasn't playing too seriously, but I had a chance to win," Mayorga said. "My nerves got the best of me!"
For Chalmers, it wouldn't have mattered whether he won or lost. Chalmers was in New York on Friday to present Mayorga as the winner of Spalding's "Arena to Driveway" competition. Spalding asked fans to submit a photo of their rundown basketball court for a chance to receive an NBA-style upgrade, and Mayorga was picked out of more than 500 entries.
"I thought I deserved it," Mayorga exclaimed. "This is an experience that I'll never forget. It's something I can tell my children, that I met and played an NBA player."
Chalmers said it was a great experience to be there for Mayorga and "play" one-on-one.
"I got a chance to put joy on his face," Chalmers said. "Look at him now. He's the man."