By Ben Golliver
A Thunder fan named Justin Dougherty hit a half-court during Oklahoma City's 103-83 home win over the Blazers on Sunday, winning $20,000 and a celebratory tackle hug from Kevin Durant.
Wearing a blue No. 1 Thunder jersey and a backwards hat, Dougherty launched a running one-handed push shot that went straight in, nothing but net. The swish set off a mad celebration in which Dougherty, a television reporter, was mobbed by stunt team members as he sought out his girlfriend for a bouncing hug in the tunnel adjacent to the court. As the giant ceremonial check was being prepared, Dougherty ran back to center court, pointing to the Thunder's bench and encouraging Durant to run toward him.
The NBA's scoring leader obliged, taking a page from LeBron James' book by jumping into Dougherty's arms and knocking him to the court. His memory-making work complete, Durant jogged back to the Thunder huddle as Dougherty was presented with his check by two Oklahoma City cheerleaders.
Dougherty tweeted afterwards: "WOW."
His girlfriend tweeted: "Holy Craaaaaaap!!!!! ... My. Boyfriend. Is. A. Bosssss!!!!!"
Back in January, James tackled a fan to celebrate a half-court hook shot that won $75,000. And less than three weeks ago, another Thunder fan hit a half-court shot, telling reporters afterwards that he planned to spend the reward money on his wife's cancer treatment.
The NBA's half-court hits have just kept coming and coming. Also in January, a Hawks season ticket-holder named Kevin had a chance to win $1,000 by hitting a half-court shot, only to have his attempt come to rest, impossibly, on the back of the rim. In February, a Clippers fan hit a half-court shot for a new car.
Video via YouTube user okcthunder | Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk