Jared Diamond: The Grizzlies' Starch Madness
At some point during the Memphis Grizzlies' home game against the Denver Nuggets
on Saturday, one lucky fan will stand at half court and heave up a prayer for a chance
to win a prize. This alone isn't particularly newsworthy. After all, nearly two-thirds of
NBA teams are running a similar promotion this season.
But the Grizzlies contest stands alone in one unusual—and tasty—way. If the fan
makes the shot in Memphis, he won't receive a giant check or a fabulous new car.
Instead, he'll receive Tater Tots. Lots and lots of Tater Tots.
The Grizzlies' contest is sponsored by Sonic Drive-In, which agreed to award a lifetime
supply of Tater Tots to any fan that hits the shot.
Jason Potter, the Grizzlies' director of promotions and event presentation, said the
winner would receive the equivalent of one coupon per week for a medium order of
Tater Tots. Potter added he had a giant box of coupons sitting in an office, in case
somebody hits the miracle shot. In addition, everybody in the stands would receive
one free order just for cheering.
Cash is the most typical reward for making a half-court shot, with prizes ranging
from $1,000 in Utah to $77,777 in Phoenix. In Oklahoma City, the winner gets
$20,000—and $100 just for hitting the rim or backboard.
So what's the true value of hitting a half-court shot at a Grizzlies game?
Factoring in the cost of a medium order of tots at a Memphis-area Sonic restaurant
($1.69 plus tax), a 30-year-old fan who lives another 50 years would get $4,628 in
free Tater Tots. (Ketchup not included.)