Standing on the free-throw line Monday night in a Chicago Bulls jersey, spinning a basketball between his hands, sophomore Benjamin Do seemed poised and ready to accomplish something Michael Jordan never did: Win the world’s largest game of knockout.
But unlike Jordan, Do missed his shot at immortality. The sophomore’s shot bounced wide off the right side of the rim and in desperation, he fired his rebound at his competitor’s ball, knocking it out of the basket just as it was going in. The move was illegal and Do was disqualified.
Out of 167 players, an unofficial world record, freshman Drew Manville had been named the knockout king of GW.
“I came in just hoping to be in the top 50. I don’t think you expect to win something like this,” Manville said after his victory.
Manville wasn’t the only winner Monday night. The GW Spirit Program, which organized the contest as an attempt to break the world record for the largest game of knockout ever, counted 167 participants Monday night, 21 more than the previous record of 146. Before it can be recognized officially as the new record, the event will have to be validated by Guinness World Records.
“We’re working with witnesses and supervisors who will verify what happened here, compile all the information, and send it into Guinness,” said Ariz Matute, the manager of the GW Spirit Program. “Then, hopefully, they’ll let us know we succeeded.”
The idea for the knockout competition came up during discussions about events for Spirit Week.
“We wanted to do something new and exciting,” Nikki Rappaport, a project development assistant for Colonials Sports Marketing, said. “And really pump people up for Colonial Invasion.”
After reading about another local attempt at breaking a Guinness World Record, Rapport said the planning team contacted Guinness and received all the necessary information and procedures for its attempt. From there, the competition was advertised on Facebook and Twitter, but was mainly driven by grassroots efforts across campus. The chance to etch their names into the record books was an easy sell for a lot of students.
“I decided to come because I thought it would be really cool to set a world record and see my name in lights, in a record book,” said junior participant Shawn Kelly.
Among the 167 participants were members of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Asked if he was just there for show, senior men’s basketball forward Jabari Edwards smiled and boasted, “I’m in it to win,” as he waited in line. Asked what would happen if a regular student knocked him out, Edwards reiterated how serious he was.
“I might cry. It might hurt my feelings a little bit,” he said. “But I’ll be happy for them.”
While Edwards worried about competition from the student body, his teammate, sophomore Bryan Bynes, faced a different kind of competitor – men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs. Despite being unregistered as a participant, Hobbs snuck into the line in the third round long enough to knock Bynes out of the game.
“Coach Hobbs cheated me,” a laughing Bynes said after the game. “But I enjoyed shooting against him.”
This article was updated on Oct. 14, 2010 to reflect the following:
This article originally misspelled Nikki Rappaport’s name.