An unlikely half-court hook shot, a bear hug from Miami Heat star LeBron James and a $75,000 prize are the newest additions to the list of Michael Drysch's sweepstakes winnings.
The 50-year-old McHenry man sunk a half-court hook shot between periods of the Heat's Friday night home game against the Detroit Pistons, then celebrated with James as the two hugged and rolled around the floor.
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"I turned around after I made that miraculous shot and had him come and congratulate me with kind of a big bear hug," Drysch said Saturday in a phone interview from Miami.
Drysch got to attempt the shot because he was selected from about 30,000 applicants in the Carmex Half-Court Academy Half-Court Hero contest. When his shot swished in, he scored $75,000 for himself and also for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the LeBron James Family Foundation.
"It was a great time," Drysch said, nonchalantly discussing his winning shot. "I'm glad I can help charity."
Entering sweepstakes is nothing new for Drysch, who said he has won a trip to the World Series of Poker, a "James Bond" weekend in London, a week in Steamboat Springs, a weekend at the Playboy mansion and a pickup truck through various contests he's entered the past seven or eight years.
"People think I'm lucky," he said. "But I haven't won the lottery, so I'm not that lucky."
Drysch said he practiced his half-court hook shot at the Vernon Hills Park District, near his job as a computer technician for American Hotel Register company in Vernon Hills. He told NBA commentators in a postgame interview he made one shot in practice out of about 100 attempts.
But when the big moment came and Drysch stepped onto the court at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, he was all concentration.
"I was focused on doing what I had in mind to do," he said.
Once he sunk the shot, "I wasn't too concerned about the game anymore after that," he said.
James told NBA commentators after the game he was shocked to see Drysch hit the shot.
"When it went down, I was just as excited as him," James told commentators in a postgame interview. "I was just as surprised as him."
Meeting James was the highlight of the whole experience, Drysch said Saturday, but he still has interviews with Miami-area media, ESPN and Good Morning America to look forward to.
When he returns to McHenry sometime next week, Drysch said, he plans to use the money to pay bills and possibly to visit his mother in Utah.