Beach Ball Classic alum Mario Chalmers looking to win a ring for the thumb

Copyright Digital Magic PhotographyThe same year that Danny Green of the St Mary’s Gaels, (now with the San Antonio Spurs) was winning the Beach Ball Classic Championship (2004), and hoisting the tournament MVP trophy, Mario Chalmers from Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska was perched in the stands with his team.

Despite coming off three straight trips to the Alaska state finals, winning in 2002 and 2003, the Golden Bears had struggled during their first trip to the Grand Strand.

In the first game Chalmers put up 29 points, but his Bartlett team fell to a Miami Senior team featuring Edwin Rios. Rios would lead all scorers with 35 points and follow that up with a less than stellar college and overseas pro career.

Bartlett would fall into the Consolation Bracket and lose to Aiken for their third loss of the year, still looking for their first win. Chalmers would score 33 points with 10 steals in that Aiken game.

Myrtle Beach High School would be their final opponent in their third game at the Beach Ball, a game for last place. Chalmers would score 30 points to lead all scorers and his team to their first victory of the year, defeating Myrtle Beach 69-64.

Mario Chalmers would enter the Beach Ball Classic with two championship rings from his sophomore and junior seasons, but he would be best remembered for the picture used in this piece.

As Chalmers was going up for a layup, Miami Senior’s Dwain Collins grabbed at Chalmers. Chalmers would keep going, but his shorts would stay in the hand of Collins. This would also be the moment that photographer Michael Graves of Digital Magic Photography snapped the picture that would be printed, discussed, and shared for years to come.

Chalmers made his way to the University of Kansas following his trip to the Grand Strand. His high school coach, Ronnie Chalmers, also his father, would follow as the director of basketball operations at Kansas.

Mario Chalmers added the third ring to his growing collection during his junior year at Kansas. The Jayhawks would win the 2008 NCAA Basketball Championship, defeating John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers in overtime 75-68. Chalmers would also pick up the trophy for Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament and be best remembered for his overtime-forcing three-pointer against Memphis.

The NBA would be very kind to Chalmers. Drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was quickly traded to the Miami Heat, wearing uniform number 6.

With three rings already to his name, July 8, 2010 would be a date that would go a long way toward adding the fourth ring, and first in the NBA. When LeBron James announced his intention to take his talents to Miami, Chalmers would be called upon to make room via that number 6 uniform, it would be needed for Mr. James. Chalmers took his high school and college number of 15 and the process began.

Chalmers would add the fourth ring in the summer of 2012 with the Heat. In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Chalmers scored 10 points, with 7 assists in 34 minutes of play as the Heat and Chalmers won the 2012 NBA championship. It was Chalmers’ first NBA title.

Tonight, Chalmers looks to add a ring to the thumb. The Beach Ball Classic connection doesn’t end there, with 1987 BBC alum Ray Allen looking for his second ring, and 2004 alum Danny Green looking for his first. Game time is 9pm Thursday night.

Photo Credit: Michael Graves, Digital Magic Photography.

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