If you ask Brad Baer how confident he was before he made that unbelievable, $10,000 half-court shot and gained overnight fame, luck did not appear to be on his side.
“I wasn’t nervous at first but at the end of the half I started getting a little nervous," Baer said.
He was about to take his best shot from half-court at Saturday’s NCAA Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center.
“When I got on the court there was a guy right before me that missed (the shot), I said well hopefully I won’t do that bad.”
And then there was that staff member from the Barclay’s Center.
“He said, ‘No one has ever hit a half-court shot at a Nets game.’ I thought, well thanks that takes the pressure off a little bit,” Brad joked.
The 29-year-old adjunct professor from Temple University’s architecture department was at the Butler - St. Louis matchup with five of his childhood friends. On a whim, they each sent a text message to enter the half-court shooting contest before the game. Just before halftime, Brad got a message from organizers on his phone informing him that he had been selected and to come to the court.
“When I got to the court, my first thought was not to let my foot cross that line and then I wanted to make sure that I shot as hard as I could so that I didn’t come up short,” Baer said.
And he didn’t.
In front of an anxious crowd, blaring lights, and rolling cameras Baer hit the ball through the net with ease setting off an improbable sports moment that will be re-played and talked about for quite some time. Video of the amazing shot was posted on YouTube.
“It was definitely the epitome of my five minutes of fame,” Baer said. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced. You are on the opening of Sports Center, which has been my biggest life achievement to this point,” Brad laughed.
We’re sure Brad meant to say his second biggest life achievement. The sports fanatic, who was recently married to his wife Katie, says it was three hours before he told her he’d be bringing home a little more bacon.
“She was at a bridal shower and when I told her she said ‘are you serious’, Baer said. “I was fortunate that they took that video so that she could see it.”
Pictured: Brad and pals at Del Frisco's Steakhouse
As for Brad's friends, he did what all sports superstars do when they win a big championship, he took everybody out for a celebration dinner. The group chowed down on Del Frisco’s steaks, seafood, and took in a drink or three to the tune of $1,100 - which is now chump change for Baer.
“The money is cool, but everything is better, like being with my buddies,” Baer said. “A guy came over and had me touch his son’s hand. “I thought it was kind of funny at first, but I think the kid was a little confused."
Baer says he expects to get his prize money in the next few days, with the take away to be about $6,000 after taxes. He says he plans to use it to pay off his graduate school loans and put away some of the money for a down payment on a new home.