Thomas “Snacks” Lee didn’t waste any time in his first, and last, minutes out on the court for Jackson State.
Lee, the Tigers’ longtime student manager and a senior, came into the game with just 2:05 left on Monday night in their 76-56 win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Almost instantly, he became a viral sensation.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed with the love and support,” Lee said, via The Athletic. “It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and I’m savoring every bit of it.”
The deep shot that sparked his fame
Lee attempted three deep buckets on Monday night after entering the game, but was off the mark on all of them.
Finally, with 17 seconds left, he hit it.
Lee, catching the ball well behind the 3-point line on a fast break, fired from long range and hit nothing but net with ease.
"When I took the shot, I felt the energy," he said, via ESPN. "It was like none other. We were still on defense, but I was still celebrating. I actually didn't get back on the other side. I actually walked toward the fans and started celebrating with the crowd."
Almost instantly, the sports world took notice. That video was shared widely across social media, even catching Kevin Durant’s attention.
His performance even earned him the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week honors.
BREAKING NEWS: @GoJSUTigers deep range shooter Thomas “Snacks” Lee (@BigHomie_Tom) has been named #SWACMBB Player of the Week. The Jackson, Miss. native leads the league in social media views and is a legitimate scoring threat from virtually anywhere on the court #SWACHoops pic.twitter.com/xmY02y9oKq— Southwestern Athletic Conference (@theswac) March 4, 2020
“I know now what a celebrity goes through on a day-to-day basis,” he said, via The Athletic. “But I’m loving it.”
How ‘Snacks’ came to be
Lee joined the team as a manager in 2015, though not many on the team knew his name early on. They’d frequently see him in the locker room with candy, however, and the “Snacks” nickname quickly took off.
So did his popularity with the program.
Lee, despite never entering a game before Monday night, was actually put on scholarship last year. And before the game, head coach Wayne Brent made it his goal to get Lee in.
“Y’all know I can’t put him in the game if we’re only up by two or three points,” Brent told his team before the game, via The Athletic. “You’ll have to play extremely well and be up by 20 or 30 points to get him in.”
So, after chants of, “We want Snacks!” broke out in the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center with the team up nearly 30 points, Brent made the move.
"It was wonderful to actually be able to check into an actual Division I game," Lee said, via ESPN. "I would never have thought I'd have the opportunity. For those guys to handle business and get me out there, I really appreciate it."
And even though he may not look like a traditional 3-point shooter, Lee hopes his shot can inspire others in the sport.
Never let anybody tell you what you “ can’t’ “ do. Stay Down and wait for your moment 💪🏾🥶 @espn @stephenasmith @BleacherReport @SportsCenter @HoHighlights @filayyyy @famouslos32 @KDTrey5 pic.twitter.com/XBp8g9kChX— Thomas “Snacks” Lee (@BigHomie_Tom) March 3, 2020
"I most definitely feel like I've paved the way for the big guys," Lee said, via ESPN. "I feel like I put us on the map. A lot of times, you get into the basketball gym, a big guy is not gonna be your first choice. But I feel like I gave a lot of guys confidence."
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