The hottest new trend in NBA betting seems to be first basket parlays. Essentially, a bettor guesses which player will score the first basket in a given game. On December 29, 2021, Jim James thought he’d give one of these parlays a shot. He put $100 on a four-game parlay assuming that Jaylen Brown would drain the first bucket at home against the Clippers (+500), Devin Booker would score the first points of the Suns’ game against the Thunder (+380), Rudy Gobert would score the first basket in a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers (+400), and Mavericks’ forward Kristaps Porzingis would record the first points against the Sacramento Kings (+430).
If everything hit, James’s $100 bet would earn him $76,320.
As the night wore on, James’ prospects kept getting brighter. After a pair of missed layups by the Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe and Ivica Zubac, Brown would record the first points of the Clippers-Celtics game with a 13-foot jumper.
Over in Phoenix, Booker had an opportunity to win James’s second leg immediately, but missed on an 18-foot jumper. The Suns made a defensive stop and off a nice feed from Cameron Johnson, Booker made up for his miss by draining a triple for the first points of the game.
Gobert also missed his first opportunity — a layup attempt from only three feet away. James must’ve been biting his nails at this point thinking he’d probably just lost out on the payday of a lifetime. However, after a Damian Lillard miss, Gobert got another chance and slammed home the game’s first two points with an emphatic dunk!
If I were James, I wouldn’t have been able to watch the final game. I would’ve been too nervous. I nearly faint from excitement when McDonald’s accidentally gives me 11 McNuggets instead of ten. James stayed calm, determined to see his bet through. The Kings won the tip-off. James was likely shaking in his boots hoping the Mavs could make a stop, and they did. His man, Porzingis blocked Marvin Bagley’s layup attempt from five feet out. Twenty seconds later, Porzingis would be rewarded for his defensive effort with a free look at the rim from just two feet away — an easy layup for the Unicorn which would slide 76 large into James’ pocket.
Porzingis missed, and now James knows what it was like to be a Knicks fan from 2015-2018.
In one of the all-time worst beats, James lost an entire year’s salary worth of dough over a missed layup. There was no contest on the shot. There was nobody between Porzingis and the rim. It was just a flat-out miss.
The story of James’ was picked up by a few media outlets, and was even talked about on some of TikTok’s most popular sports betting pages. Popular user @bookitwithtrent created an even more popular video on the matter that amassed over 2.6 million views.
Still, nothing came of this almost-legendary ticket. For weeks, all James could do was wallow in misery and think of what could’ve been.
But HUZZAH! All is not lost! Yesterday, word of James’ misfortune reached the Mavericks and Porzingis. Porzingis, heartbroken by James’ tale, wanted to make amends. Porzingis grabbed a sharpie and signed a game-worn jersey. He also added a message reading: “Sorry about blowing the layup and costing you 76K!”
James was thrilled to hear this news and honored that someone like Porzingis would go out of his way to ease the pain of missing out on 76 grand. In response to Porzingis’s actions, James tweeted “Keep in mind this man owed me NOTHING....and he had the human decency to reach out then send me a signed jersey. That’s pretty cool and deserves MUCH respect.....ALL Love for KP.”
I don’t know which team James roots for in his spare time, but I can almost guarantee he’s going to be rooting for Porzingis from now on.