7 On Your Side: Hoops prize winner needs assist

Nina Pineda Image
Monday, January 12, 2015
7 on your side eyewitness news new york

A local college student who made his mark on the basketball court by sinking a $1,000 shot needed an assist when he didn't get his money. So he got 7 On His Side.

Jarell Rankin counted on the money for fall semester books, but had to scramble around for a part-time job when the promised prize never arrived.

The college sophomore was in the stands with his aunt and her partner watching one of his favorite sports teams, the WNBA'S New York Liberty, when he was selected to take part in a halftime shoot out. And before he knew it, Rankin was center court at Madison Square Garden, given three chances to sink shots and win money.

He made the layup, worth $10, before clanking the $100 foul shot.

"That's when I started getting a little nervous when I missed it," he said. "I heard the crowd 'aw-ing' for me."

His last shot for the free money was from three-point range.

"He said. 'This was your last shot, are you ready?'" Rankin said. "I just took the ball and stepped up and shot it. They cheered like I was an NBA player hitting the game-winning shot."

He won the top prize of $1,000, but after months passed and he got no check, Jarrell started thinking the halftime show was just for show, not dough.

After their emails didn't get any results, we made a call. Jarrell's $1,010 prize was liberated within 24 hours.

"It felt great," he said. "I'm still not sure what to do with it. I'll save it for now."

A rep for MSG apologized, saying there was an unfortunate delay in the payment process.

"I am so grateful to 7 On Your Side," Jarrell's aunt said. "Who knows if we would've ever gotten this money, (or) how many cages we'd have to rattle."

And after our calls, MSG went the extra mile, changing the way winners are rewarded. Now, prize winners at Knicks, Rangers and Liberty games are paid on the spot.