Controversial conclusion to Mike McDonald basketball prop bet

Mike McDonald basketball bet
Jon Sofen
Posted on: August 27, 2020 08:16 PDT

Mike McDonald won his free-throw shooting prop bet for $200,000, but the manner in which he won is being scrutinized by some, including Nick Schulman who had a piece of the action.

The basic rules for the bet that began in April were quite simple. McDonald was required to drain 90 free-throws out of a 100-shot set before the end of the year. McDonald could shoot as many times as need be to reach that goal. While shooting, he had to get his own rebounds, use an NBA regulation sized basketball and a 10-foot hoop, and shoot from exactly 15 feet away from the basket.

But there was one minor detail the bettors never worked out that became a major issue — breaks. That issue is being debated on social media due to McDonald taking a 30-minute break in between a set in which he hit exactly 90 out of 100 shots.

Should a break have been allowed?

McDonald claims he doesn't have an organized basketball gym near his home in Canada. So, he says he's been driving over two hours to shoot hoops. The only problem with that is the courts are often packed and he only gets a limited time each day to shoot.

On Tuesday, he drained 56 out of 61 shots, which is right on pace to win the bet, before his time on the court ran out. He was able to schedule additional time on the other end of the court a half hour later.

When he returned from the brief break, he concluded the set by making 34 of 39 shots, giving him 90 out of 100 overall, enough to win the bet and the $200,000 in wagers he was owed from a group of poker players.

Schulman pays up, but he isn't happy about it

Poker commentator and high stakes poker pro Nick Schulman was none too thrilled to discover McDonald took a break during a set and finished that set with 90 made free-throws. He had $15,000 of the action and was far from excited to pay up, but he did.

Schulman posted a brief video on Twitter angrily disagreeing that breaks should have been permitted. But he also said he'd honor the bet.

"I'm here to concede the Mike McDonald free-throw bet," Schulman said in the video. "I just can't take it anymore, I'm feeling this heat like I'm being scummy or something. So, yeah, the first bet I made for $15,000, take it, Mike. I mean, I guess you can just go take a night off in between the 100, I guess that's just a normal thing."

Schulman twice claimed that McDonald took a "night off." That isn't accurate. He only took a 30-minute break. But many poker players on social media felt any break at all was helpful to McDonald as it gave him an opportunity to rest and come back fresh to finish off the set. Others, however, argued that the break impeded his rhythm.

McDonald disagreed with those who said he shouldn't have been allowed to take a break. But to ensure he left no doubt as to whether he deserved to win the money or not, he went out and hit 90 out of 100 free-throws again without breaks. The poker pro plans to release that video soon, he said on Twitter.