Devonte' Graham’s 61-footer that beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday is the longest game-winning buzzer-beater in NBA history, but the shots that preceded it are equally impressive. Here are the top-five longest game-winners we’ve ever seen.
5. Belus Smawley vs. Providence Steamrollers (1948)
Unfortunately, there’s no footage of Belus Smawley hitting a long-range prayer to lead the St. Louis Bombers to an 84-82 victory over the Providence Steamrollers back in 1948. But according to Basketball-Reference, his 50-footer ranks fifth on the NBA’s list of longest game-winning shots.
The best part is that Smawley’s chuck only counted for two, as the league obviously still hadn’t introduced the three-point line, and made it the longest game-winning two-pointer in history.
4. Tyreke Evans vs. Memphis Grizzlies (2010)
Tyreke Evans’ three-point heave from mid-court secured the Sacramento Kings a 100-98 win over Memphis on Dec. 29, 2010, snapping the team’s eight-game losing streak. The shot was later reviewed by the refs before it, at the time, had officially become the longest-game winner in the NBA since 1992.
“I think I’m the best on the team at doing it,” Evans said after hitting a 50-footer. “We practice that at the shootaround in the morning sometimes and I’m glad we do that. It looked good but when it went in, that’s when I knew it was good.”
3. Julius Erving vs. Dallas Mavericks (1986)
On Feb. 28, 1986, Julius Erving stunned the Mavericks’ crowd after hitting a 53-footer to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 123-120 victory. He finished the game with 20 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists, and a single play worthy of NBA history books.
2. Chris Wayne Jackson a.k.a. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf vs. Los Angeles Clippers (1992)
Dr. J held the record for the longest game-winner until 1992, but then Chris Wayne Jackson happened. After a block by Dikembe Mutombo on one end, with just under 3 seconds left on the game clock, the 6-1 point guard took a couple of dribbles and hoisted one up from 55 feet.
The ball went in, nothing but net, securing the Nuggets a 123-120 win over the Clippers. Jackson finished the game with 19 points on 2-for-3 from behind the arc.
1. Devonte' Graham vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (2021)
“I just wanted to get one up, honestly,” Devonte' Graham said after hitting the longest game-winning buzzer-beater in NBA history. “I didn’t want to take the ball out. I waited. Then J-Hart (Josh Hart) passed it to me and I just let it fly.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had just hit a crazy 30-footer to tie the game with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. Hart inbounded the ball to Graham, who launched one from 61 feet to secure the New Orleans Pelicans a 113-110 victory, rewriting the history books with the longest "Hail Mary" the NBA has ever seen.
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