ATLANTIC CITY, JUNE 25 -- It has been said that if you stick around long enough you'll see everything, so perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that a guy pocketed $50,000 for dunking a basketball through a rim 11 feet 7 inches off the ground while two lifelong friends from nearby Philadelphia renewed their playground rivalry -- this time with $100,000 on the line.
Tonight's event at the Convention Center was called the One-on-One Collegiate Challenge but there were few signs of anything scholastic. The winners of the two contests, vertical leaper Joey Johnson and one-on-one champ Bo Kimble, got their checks right away.
The promoter, Mike Trainer, who also handles Sugar Ray Leonard, won't realize his take until the numbers from the pay-per-view audience come in. Another group who have to wait for a later payoff are the 10 or so NBA scouts and executives (including Miami Heat President Billy Cunningham and General Manager Lew Schaffel and new Atlanta assistant coach Kevin Loughery) who showed up to evaluate the performers, some of whom will be top-10 picks in Wednesday's pro draft.
"It's just one more thing to see," said Cunningham of his presence.
"You want to be here but it doesn't really mean anything," added Loughery.
That statement would have been disputed by the one-on-one participants, each of whom received $10,000 just for showing up. Former Louisiana State guard Chris Jackson had two teeth knocked loose. Gary Payton from Oregon State had his jersey nearly ripped off his back during his 30-23 loss to Kimble in the finals but, with $50,000 for coming in second, didn't seem too distraught.
Neither did Trainer, who decided to take a flyer on the first-time event because, "Ray wasn't fighting, I was fascinated by the idea of a one-on-one tournament and cable wanted an event."
Not to mention the earning potential. There was an announced crowd of 2,100, with tickets priced at $50, $30 and $20.
The most exciting moment may have been early in the evening when Johnson, younger brother of Boston Celtics guard Dennis Johnson, jammed the ball through despite the imposing height.
In the one-on-one semifinals, Loyola Marymount's Kimble had to face Lionel Simmons from La Salle. The two grew up together, Simmons boasting he had won 11 of their 12 previous one-on-one meetings.
He could have made it 12 of 13 were it not for an ill-advised three-point attempt when down two points with 19 seconds remaining. He could have forced overtime by taking the smaller Kimble to the basket but decided to go for the win instead.
The other participants were Bimbo Coles from Virginia Tech, Sean Higgins of Michigan, Travis Mays of Texas and Willie Burton from Minnesota.
The games were eight minutes long with a 20-second shot clock and two referees calling fouls.