Craig Calloway, a 29-year-old transportation electrician from Compton, California, stepped up and buried the biggest shot of his life, from half court, on Tuesday night before the fourth quarter of L.A.’s win over Oklahoma City.
Just like that, Calloway was the Mirage Big Shot Jackpot Winner, taking home a clean $235,000 for just a few seconds of work (insert Marv Albert’s “Yesss!!!!”).
We caught up with Calloway during the fourth quarter of the contest:
MT: First of all, congratulations. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Craig Calloway: I’m from Compton, California, I’m 29 years of age. I played basketball, actually. I went to Long Beach Jordan High School, and California State Northridge after that. I’m a transportation electrician, local union 11, IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). Intersections, street lights.
MT: Great. Take us through your halfcourt shot. Nice form, by the way…
Calloway: Man, I’ll tell you the honest to god truth: we’re in the gym, we shoot, we start making them in close and like everyone else you start gradually getting further and further away. Everybody knows, the half court shot is the thing to shoot (Editor’s note: Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar certainly agree). So you just sit there and shoot them. I just shot it the same way I do in the gym. That’s all I know how to do, just shoot.
MT: How does this change your life?
Calloway: Man, to be honest, the same thing. I’m going to keep doing the same things I’ve been doing. It’s been working for me, I’ve made some changes in my life. Thanks to Mirage.
MT: Is this the kind of thing where you can take care of some things that have been hanging over your head? I know we all have bills to pay…
Calloway: That’s exactly what I plan on doing, and not just mine, I want to take care of some of my family’s as well.
MT: Some people would immediately take this money and think about what they could buy, but you seem focused on taking care of things and living your life the same way.
Calloway: Exactly. That’s exactly right, all I want to do is clear my credit and help out some other family members, but I won’t be high profile with it. I won’t do it.
MT: I’m guessing you’re a big Lakers fan, and as we do this interview, Kobe just hit back-to-back jumpers in the fourth quarter. That works, right?
Calloway: The atmosphere is unbelievable. The Lakers are playing a tough game and these young Thunder boys are playing tough. But I know you all can’t hear me since Kobe hit an and-1!
MT: Back to the shot itself, you had a solid approach, I have to say. Kept the walk up short, went from the chest … and then swish.
Calloway: To be honest, I thought it was short. I knew it was straight, but thought it was short … but when I saw it, it seemed like something pushed it up and then it went straight through.
MT: What was your first thought when it went through?
Calloway: (pauses) I told you so. Ha. No, but I have so much confidence in myself, I relished the opportunity like this. You can only make or miss it, and I said, ‘I’m gonna hit it!’ I’m not going to tell myself, ‘I might,’ I’m gonna say that I can. And it happened.
MT: Congrats once again, awesome stuff Craig.
Calloway: Thanks to everyone, man.