It started out as a free-throw contest to unite a community despite its negative stereotypes. But it delivered a much bigger message when the free-throw contest winner forfeited all his glory and gave the winnings to the rest of the contestants.
It sounds like something from a movie, and in a way, it is. According to the LA Times
, Court Crandall, an advertising executive and screenwriter, was working on a documentary that aimed to defy the stereotypes of Compton, a city just outside of Los Angeles rumored to be run by racial and socioeconomic tensions.
As part of the documentary, Crandall raised roughly $75,000, reports the LA Times
, for a scholarship that would be determined through a free-throw contest held at Compton High School. “I thought the free throw is a good metaphor in a world where there’s a bunch of lines that are kind of dividing us,” Crandall said in an interview with Rob Kuznia
. But even the ending of the documentary would surprise Crandall.
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Of the 80 applicants who met the "3.0 GPA and higher" qualification of the scholarship contest, eight were randomly chosen to actually compete in the free-throw contest. Amongst the eight was Allan Guei, a player from Compton High School who signed to play college basketball with Cal State Northridge, as reported by the LA Times
Guei won the free throw contest, and a $40,000 scholarship, by one basket in front of a packed gym at Compton High School this past spring. The other contestants were surprised at the end of the contest with the announcement from their principal that their first year of college tuition would be covered by the remaining money in the scholarship fund.
But at last month’s Compton High graduation, Guei blew everyone away again with a special announcement for the other seven contestants. Because his tuition was covered by a full-ride scholarship
for playing basketball at Cal State, Guei was giving the $40K scholarship to the seven contestants he had beat out a few months earlier, states the LA Times
. According to NCAA regulations, Guei would have been able to keep the $40,000 in addition to his full-ride scholarship from Cal State. That’s why his gift was all the more astonishing.
Now, each student will have another $5,500 to put toward their college education, reports highschool.rivals.com
. Of the generous gift, Omar Guzman, one of the free throw contestants, said in an interview with the LA Times
, “It was a shock. I'm really grateful there are people like that out there. It was generous.”
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The full story will be available in Crandall’s documentary, Free Throw, which he will be submitting to the Sundance Film Festival this September, according to WDCW
, the advertising firm where Crandall works. Watch the trailer below.
Free Throw update from Court Crandall on Vimeo.