Meet Anthony Peterson: The Man Who Won $1,000 in Scratch-Offs in Madison Square Garden

Jan 14, 2020, 12:48 PM EST

Whether you’re a basketball fan, a League Pass viewer, or someone who has attended an NBA game in person, you have likely at some point witnessed an in-game promotion that features a fan attempting a halfcourt shot in hopes of winning a prize.

These prizes can vary.

For example, colleges have offered a full year’s worth of tuition!

The Los Angeles Lakers reward winners with $100,000.

The New York Knicks?

Oh, the New York Knicks. The biggest market in the United States’ basketball world, playing in The Mecca of Basketball — The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden — has to do it big for their contestants, too… right?

$1,000.

Not cash. $1,000 in lottery scratch tickets. The Knicks gave this man carpal tunnel as a prize.

(Disclosure: The prize amounts for each game is determined by a wheel spin by the contestant, and have ranged from $10,000 in cash to a Kia to the scratch-offs, sponsored by the New York Lottery.)

On Monday night, I caught up with the winner, Anthony Peterson, and asked him the questions everyone wants to know.

ROB PEREZ: How do you even get selected to participate in a halfcourt shot contest? Did the Knicks approach you? Did you apply? Neutral party?

ANTHONY PETERSON: You know the guys and gals who shoot the t-shirts out of the blaster things? One of them approached me and asked if I wanted to participate in a game, and I said, “Sure. 🤷🏽‍♂️.” I figured I’d have a chance to win some money, so why not try to get my pockets up?

RP: Did you practice at all before going out there? Or just let the basketball gods decide your fate?

AP: PRACTICE??? (Allen Iverson voice) Lmfaooo, I’m not sure if you know, but I actually do this shit. Can I swear? I’m known out in these streets. Ask about me at West 4th.

RP: How nervous were you?

AP: To be honest, I was about 2% nervous, but only because I couldn’t go out like a sucker in front of 35,000 people, but then I remembered who I was and settled into the moment.

RP: When did you know that shot was going in? You feel it off the fingertips or was it a total shock when it went in?

AP: I knew the shot was going in as soon as I got done shooting the first attempt. I just had to realign a little bit, and soon as I let it go, I knew.

RP: What was your reaction when you found out the prize was $1,000 worth of lottery scratchers?

AP: Well, when they said scratch-offs I instantly got a headache because I was going to have to scratch them all off. I thought about who I could hire to do it for me, but then figured they might want some of the money, so I negated that idea. I was sort of like, “What the f*ck man? Some dude just won $100,000 doing the same shit in L.A. and I get some bum ass lottery tickets.” Still a blessing though.

RP: Have you started scratching yet? If so, how many tickets do you have to get through?

AP: I’ve scratched them all. Came up $500. Used that money to play Cee-lo. Came up $70 playing my guy Max. So in all, $570.

RP: Were the scratchers those quick “match numbers or symbols” tickets or the Bingo ones that take like an hour to get through? Or were they straight lotto tickets like the Mega Millions ones you can buy at the corner store?

AP: They were $5 match-the-number tickets. Reveal a symbol, win double. Nothing crazy.

RP: How much did you end up winning?

AP: $500

RP: Do you feel like you have carpal tunnel in your wrist after you were done?

AP: Hahahaha. Yes. I had to scratch in shifts because my wrists were throbbing and I had card dust all over my hands and home.

RP: Have the Knicks offered you a 10-day contract yet?

AP: Nah. The Warriors reached out though…. Lmfaoo, clearly I’m kidding. I’d love to go play 10 days with the Knicks and average 50 though. Tell James Dolan to call me beep me.

RP: What’s it like going viral for hitting a halfcourt shot? 

AP: Honestly it’s been amazing. The momentum keeps going. Even you reaching out to me is INSANE. I just hope that people find my work through all this. Also shoutout Mr. Beast. Without the power of the World Wide Web, none of this is possible. Thank you my fellow people.

RP: What are you going to do with your winnings/Mr. Beast’s money?

AP: I was thinking about buying 10,000 dollars worth of scratch-offs and sending them to Mr. Beast as a thank you, but unfortunately I live in New York City and everything is expensive… so I’ll either buy some Disney and Tesla stocks or buy a Leica.


Anthony is a photographer whose work and services can be found at https://www.aptheangel.com/. If you’d like to follow Anthony’s work and/or story, he can be found at @APtheangel on Instagram.

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