Friday, January 25, 2013
LeBron James celebrates with fan
By Michael Wallace
MIAMI -- Usually, LeBron James is the one who gets mobbed by adoring basketball fans. On Friday, the role was reversed when the league's three-time MVP broke away from a timeout huddle during Friday's 110-88 win over the Detroit Pistons to rush the court and congratulate a fan who won $75,000 for making a half-court shot.
James couldn't contain his excitement when he ran up to Michael Drysch, a 50-year-old computer technician, moments after the awkward hook shot he launched splashed through the nets at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"That was awesome, man," James said. "I was excited for him. When he wound up like that, I was like, 'Oh no, there's no way.' And then when I saw it in the air, I was like, 'Oh, that's got a chance.' I was happy to be a part of that."
Drysch collapsed to the ground underneath James as the two embraced. Drysch won the money from the LeBron James Family Foundation, which flew Drysch from Illinois after he was selected from a drawing.
"It's a great way to meet somebody like that," Drysch said as he was presented the oversized check. "I had no idea he was coming over to me like that. That was amazing. What a great feeling to experience something like this."
Drysch said he had been practicing the shot the past two days and only made it once during his workouts. He received a tip from a friend in the arena tunnel as he was warming up to take the shot.
"They told me to put some spin on the ball, and get it up there as high as I could," Drysch said. "I had made that shot something like 1 percent of the time in my life."
James spent several moments on the court congratulating Drysch before he returned to the Heat's huddle to prepare for the start of the fourth quarter.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade scored a team-high 29 points Friday, but said Drysch hit the biggest shot of the game.
"That was an unbelievable shot," Wade said. "We might need to sign him and bring him back for late-game situations."