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Man made million dollar shot during basketball game only for company to try to avoid paying him

Chris Byfield

| Last updated 

Man made million dollar shot during basketball game only for company to try to avoid paying him

A man who made a million-dollar shot during a basketball game went on to discover the insurance company that had promised the money did not want to pay him.

Back in 1993, Don Calhoun thought he had become a millionaire after he made an incredible shot during a time-out in the third quarter of the Chicago Bulls’ encounter with the Miami Heat.

The shot, which has been dubbed The Calhoun Shot and Immaculate Connection, was part of a game that offered any fan $1million provided they could make an 80-foot basket from the free-throw line at the opposite end of the court.

As seen in the below video the entire Chicago Stadium, including Michael Jordan, went into raptures, with the odds of Calhoun throwing the ball through the net at less than one per cent,


Indeed, Calhoun subsequently had his face plastered on newspapers, while news stations were also quick to broadcast the clip. The Bulls had at that point held the promotion 19 times that season, with nobody else coming close.

But after Calhoun made the shot, the insurance company that was required to pay the punter his well-deserved cash, American Hole 'N One Inc., voided the payment.


This is because they discovered that Calhoun had played college basketball, which was a violation of the rules.


Of course, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to be strict when it comes to the small print.

In this case, one stipulation was that contestants could not have played in an ‘organised’ version of the sport in question before the contest.

However, as per ABC7 Chicago, it was not unusual for franchises to pay contestants themselves if there were any issues.

And that’s what happened to Calhoun. Well, sort of.


Coca-Cola, who were the event’s sponsors, alongside the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, and the Bulls pledged to cover the prize if the insurance company would not.

In turn, Calhoun won $50,000 a year over the next 20 years, which is very welcome but perhaps not the life-changing cash the contestant had anticipated.

He kept his office supplies salesman job and after taxes, received $38,000 each year until 2013.

He told ABC7 Chicago: "In reality, you're not rich. You're not a millionaire."


The ball Calhoun used to make the shot is now in the possession of his son.

Featured Image Credit: NBA

Topics: Basketball, Chicago Bulls

Chris Byfield
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