Travis Milne has been wanting to buy a house in his native Santa Maria, Calif., about 120 miles north of Los Angeles.
After a trip to Staples Center for the Lakers’ win over Phoenix on Sunday, it’ll be a lot easier.
Milne, computer programmer working in Solvang, was chosen to take a halfcourt shot in between the third and fourth quarters. The 27-year-old sunk it, sending Staples Center into a frenzy as he pointed to his forearm for D’Angelo Russell’s trademark “ice in my veins” pose.
“I made it a thousand times before,” Milne laughed. “Oh yeah.”
Several Lakers, including Nick Young, Marcelo Huertas and Metta World Peace, came over to congratulate Milne, while Russell himself seemed excited upon learning that his celebration had been used after the game.
“I saw him make the shot (but) I didn’t see the ‘ice in my veins,’” he said. “I probably would’ve celebrated with him.”
After that, Milne received his giant, check for $35,000 from the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, which — if he chooses — can go toward his future home.
“That’s a down payment already,” he said. “That’s life-changing money.”
Milne was ushered across Staples Center to be interviewed on TV for Spectrum SportsNet and radio for 710 ESPN. All the while, his lifelong friend, Hugo, was there to cheer him on, shouting “Mr. Big Shot!” over and over again.
Fittingly, Milne wore No. 5 when playing for the Boys And Girls Club youth Lakers team while growing up, which led to him becoming a fan of the actual Lakers’ No. 5 at the time: Robert Horry, also known as “Big Shot Rob.”
Milne certainly picked up Horry’s knack for clutch shooting in his years following the Lakers, as he called his Big Shot Jackpot experience a “lifelong dream.”
“You go down there, take the shot and make it in front of a full stadium — I’m speechless,” Milne said. “I don’t even know what’s going on right now.”