McHenry's half-court hero shoots ESPN commercial

McHenry resident Mike Drysch takes his turn behind the camera – rather than in front 
of it – during an ESPN commercial shoot Tuesday in Miami. (Provided photo).
McHenry resident Mike Drysch takes his turn behind the camera – rather than in front of it – during an ESPN commercial shoot Tuesday in Miami. (Provided photo).

Mike Drysch stood at halfcourt of American Airlines Arena on Tuesday, asked to re-create his $75,000 moment.

It had been nearly 10 months since the McHenry resident's 15 minutes of fame began after sinking a half-court hook shot during a Miami Heat home game. The shot earned Drysch $75,000 and, more importantly, an enthusiastic bear hug from Heat star LeBron James that made Drysch an immediate Internet sensation.

With ESPN cameras rolling Tuesday for a commercial celebrating sporting achievements involving everyday people, Drysch took 10 shots – this time inside an empty arena. One attempt nearly found its mark. Another bounced off the top of the backboard. A few others came close to their intended targets.

One by one, others lined up, attempting to mimick Drysch's big money shot from last January. Like Drysch had before them, all of them failed in hitting the halfcourt shot.

"It's not an easy shot – that's for sure," Drysch said on Wednesday after returning from the quick two-day trip to Miami. "It has to be the right timing for that shot to go in."

Or maybe a little financial incentive.

"I guess I need to have some money involved (to hit the shot)," Drysch said. "Or maybe 20,000 people watching me or 45 degree weather to practice in."

Drysch was contacted earlier this month by ESPN, offering him the chance to film a commercial. As of Sunday, he wasn't even sure what the video shoot involved. Outside of maybe 1-2 hours of actual filming, Drysch said his day back in the spotlight involved a lot of waiting.

Drysch ended up doing a lot of waiting around with other commercial subjects – including Bears fan Mike Pantazis, who in 1995 leaped out of the stands at Soldier Field during a Monday Night Football Bears-Packers game and caught a Chris Jacke field goal.

The video shoot involved Drysch talking about hitting the shot and re-creating the moment when James sprinted from the Heat bench and embraced Drysch after hitting the shot. James, who was with the rest of his teammates in Indianapolis Tuesday, was not on site for the commercial shoot.

Drysch credits the shelf life for his moment to James, who led the Heat to the NBA championship last season. In addition to the hug a post-game interview on NBA TV with James, Drysch was also featured in an ESPN The Magazine issue dedicated to James in October, extending Drysch's association with the NBA superstar much longer than he expected.

"I ain't complaining," Drysch said.

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