Remembering USC Star Dwight Anderson

Scott Wolf

Dwight Anderson, who probably made the greatest shot in USC basketball history, died Saturday. He was 59.

Anderson died in his hometown of Dayton, where he was a local legend and some considered the best player to come out of the city.

After two years at Kentucky, Anderson transferred to USC. He averaged 19.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the 1980-81 season and 20.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 1981-82.

His career high was 33 points against Washington in 1981. 

At Kentucky, he led the 13th-ranked Wildcats to an 81-76 victory over No. 2-ranked Notre Dame. Anderson scored 17 points, all in the second half, as Kentucky overcame a 12-point deficit with eight-minutes remaining.

But for all his talent, Anderson is best-remembered at USC for one shot. It's below with Mike Walden and Pete Newell calling the game.

Anderson catches up to a long pass from James McDonald and from behind the basket Anderson lofted a shot over the backboard that swishes through the net.

I was at the game and while the crowd was not huge, it was stunned by the shot and buzzing for several minutes as the contest continued.

Anderson, a Parade All-American, was a second-round pick of the Washington Bullets in 1982. 

“He was the Michael Jordan of our era,” Isaiah Thomas said.

He battled drug and alcohol problems in later years but had been sober for four years when a 2015 documentary was released on his life.

Comments (8)
No. 1-4

I was there, too. Funny thing, the shot should not have counted. You can't make a basket from behind the backboard. Refs blew the call.


Only game I went to all year. Maybe for a few years. What a game to have your birthday. He got to the ball and it was the only place to go with the ball.


I was there too. It was my 13th birthday and my dad took me and my cousin to the game and we sat court side about 6 feet from the baseline at the basket in question. Couldn't have been any more impressive place to watch that shot as a whole. Im sure y'all can see me and my cousin on the video. The only better place to be that night would be the cheerleader he jumped over. RIP Dwight Lightning.


I was there.... super athlete, made all the other players on the court look slow.