An hour and a half into their attempt to hit the longest trick shot they've ever tried, members of the Alabama-based Legendary Shots wondered if they might have dreamed up an idea too difficult to pull off.
Time after time, they shuttled basketballs by elevator to 17-year-old Evan Sellers on a 134-foot-high platform near the top of Birmingham's famed Vulcan monument. And time after time, the Pinson Valley High School quarterback launched shots that clanged off the rim or narrowly missed the basket set up on the ground below.
Finally, 10 minutes before the two-hour time limit the monument staff gave them expired on Sunday afternoon, Sellers cocked his right arm, lobbed another shot and watched in disbelief as the ball found all net. It was a jubilant moment for the group of Alabama teens who have become YouTube sensations since they began attempting trick shots in the driveway of Carson Stalnaker's home two years ago.
"It was pretty exciting," Stalnaker, the group's 17-year-old founder, said by phone. "I asked Evan afterward, 'Did you think you were going to make it,' and he said, 'I really didn't.' If we hadn't made it, it would have been a really disappointing day."
Footage of Sellers' shot filmed by Stalnaker and fellow group member Bryan Anderson has drawn thousands of page views on YouTube in the past 24 hours, but the video has sparked controversy as well. The Legendary Shots originally labeled their YouTube video "The World's Longest Basketball Shot," prompting commenters to question whether the shot went further than this one by a group of Texas A&M students from the third deck of the school's football stadium.
According to Stalnaker, Sellers released the ball 130 feet above the 10-foot rim and the basket was set up approximately 150 to 180 feet from the base of the monument. Thus some simple algebra tells us the ball traveled somewhere between 198 and 222 feet between Sellers' hand and the rim.
Regardless of whether the shot sets a record or not, it will bring more attention to a group of teens who have received plenty lately. Other trick shots The Legendary Shots have attempted have appeared on Birmingham newscasts and national websites and have been featured in a series of commercials for Hampton Inn.
"We definitely never expected this when we first got started," Stalnaker said. "We thought it was a big deal when 50 people saw one of our shots on YouTube, let alone the millions who have ever seen them now. It's been pretty crazy, but it's been a lot of fun too."