KRWG

The Legend Of Snacks: Video Of Equipment Manager Draining Long 3-Pointer Wins ESPY

Jun 25, 2020
Originally published on June 26, 2020 9:11 am
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In college sports, senior night is when a school gets to celebrate its graduating student athletes one last time. Before the pandemic arrived in Mississippi, Jackson State University's men's basketball team played a game on senior night.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

But the Tigers didn't just want to win. They wanted Snacks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: And it looks like Snacks may be going into the ballgame. Snacks is getting up.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #2: (Laughter) Snacks.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Snacks is getting up. Oh, my goodness.

SHAPIRO: Thomas "Snacks" Lee was a senior and the team's student manager. He'd never played for the team, but he'd been hanging around Jackson State basketball ever since he was a kid.

MCCAMMON: Back then, he always brought treats for everyone, like Skittles - hence the name Snacks.

SHAPIRO: So for senior night, his team gave him a jersey and shorts and told him to get ready.

THOMAS LEE: I was just approaching it like a regular player would, just trying to approach the whole day like that and be focused in as if I was going to play 40 minutes.

SHAPIRO: Jackson State jumped out to a huge lead, and late in the game, it was Snacks' time.

LEE: Coach told me in two minutes, I was going in. So my teammates told me to shoot it every time I touched it.

MCCAMMON: In practice, Snacks found his sweet spot way beyond the NBA 3-point line. So he ran there in the game, and with under 30 seconds to go, he got the ball.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Snacks with - three. Snacks busting.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #2: Oh, my God. Snacks just...

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Snacks.

SHAPIRO: The video of Snacks' long-range 3-pointer went viral. On Sunday Thomas "Snacks" Lee won ESPN's ESPY Award for the Can't-Stop-Watching Moment.

LEE: I wanted to make history for the city, for the state, for my family, for everyone. So we done made history. And it was great to be able to be in elite company and pull off the win.

MCCAMMON: That ESPY was the first of its kind for the school, but that's not the only thing Snacks has been awarded recently. Thomas Lee also received a diploma from Jackson State University.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BASKETBALL")

KURTIS BLOW: (Rapping) Basketball is my favorite sport. I like the way they dribble up and down the court. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.