Before Mario Chalmers graced an NBA court, he had already made history. Chalmers, with one shot in 2008, became etched into the minds of people all across America.
Kids who saw Chalmers in his blue No. 15 jersey race around a stumbling Sherron Collins, with then-Memphis guard Derrick Rose in his face, and knock down that famed game-tying shot on a Monday night — a school night — are now the kids who attend Kansas. They’re the kids who watched the shot superstitiously by themselves, who sat next to their dad, who were overwhelmed and even a bit scared when Massachusetts Street was rushed. They are the kids who remember every single thing about that moment and the pure state of ecstasy that followed.
Of course, that memory lives on in Allen Fieldhouse, every single time the team is introduced, when Chalmers’ shot is the pinnacle for the Jayhawks’ pregame hype video. The loudest ovation always comes after that shot. Chalmers’ shot that tied — but really won — the 2008 national championship is still the only time in recent memory that the Allen Fieldhouse court was stormed. The game was in San Antonio.
Miracles have a way of doing this, starting as stories and then becoming fables, the details becoming cemented into long-term memory.
There’s no way to prove it, but I believe that most people at the University could recite where they were, how they reacted when that shot went through, and the nine-point comeback was all but complete. Then they can't remember what happened after.
Joey Anguiano’s mom pulled out a rosary at the Fieldhouse, where he and his family were watching, and started praying minutes before the shot.
One of Schuyler Mills' favorite memories is that shot; he wore 15 all through his basketball-playing days because of Chalmers. When he hit the shot, he watched his dad lean back in his chair, then start clapping and laughing. The next day, he walked into school, in Wisconsin — which usually required a uniform — wearing a Brandon Rush jersey.
D.J. Perlberg lived in Los Angeles and was a UCLA and USC fan. But in the moment Chalmers’ shot went down, he wished he was a Jayhawks fan. He is now.
It was history professor Jonathan Hagel’s first year at Kansas, and he walked onto the front porch where he was watching the game and heard the screams from every house on on the block when that shot went down. Track and field sophomore Gabbi Dabney, who went to Lawrence Free State, remembers that too.
Sophomore track and field runner Adel Yoonis from Georgia went to Kansas, at least in part, because of that shot. None of his friends or family quite understood it, but the shot stuck with him. Because of the shot, he started to fall in love with Kansas.
I remember running upstairs to watch the final minutes of the game, then being hushed by my dad when Chalmers hit the shot. Kansan Sports Editor Amie Just remembers exactly what she was wearing.
Jayhawk Radio Network alumnus Bob Davis returned to Allen Fieldhouse to honor Brandon Rush's jersey retirement on Wednesday's game against TCU. Rush said, "This is the biggest day of my life," during his speech inside Allen Fieldhouse.
All of these people who watched the shot, together, on April 7, 2008, on CBS, are all at the University, either as students or professors, contributing their verse to Chalmers' legacy.
Chalmers shot 5-of-13 in that game, but it was only the one shot that mattered, that became what everyone will remember of his 110 games over three years at Kansas. His jersey was retired in 2013 when he told the crowd he had reached one of his dreams by leaving his mark on Kansas. It’s quite clear he’s done that.
And his is just a sliver of the collective memory that stemmed from the second named-miracle in Kansas basketball history. They are all memories and the legends that will live on for ages, through word of mouth or through the replays on ESPN Classic or the Allen Fieldhouse video board, because a 22-year-old hit a shot with 2.1 seconds left to send the Kansas basketball team to overtime in the 2008 national championship game.
That is history.
— Edited by Casey Brown