Written by Ted Thornhill and Originally Published in Daily Mail on July 19th, 2011.
A high-school basketball player conducted a lesson in generosity after winning $40,000 in scholarship money from in a free-throw competition – then giving it all away to the other seven teens who’d taken part.
The shoot-out took place at Compton High School in Los Angeles in March this year, with 18-year-old Allan Guei emerging victorious and claiming the big-money prize.
However, when he learnt that he’d earned a full basketball scholarship to California State University Northridge, he decided his fellow classmates needed the money more.
Guei said in a statement: ‘I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we're living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates. It was the right decision.’
In an interview with ESPN, he added: ‘I was already well taken care of to go to school, to go to university for free. I felt like they needed it more than I did.’
Guei’s good grades earned him the chance to take part in the free-throw contest along with seven other randomly selected students who’d done well in their exams.
The tense shoot-out was watched by hundreds of teachers and pupils, with Guei shooting one more ball into the hoop than his closest rival and scooping the jackpot.
The story could have ended there. After all, National Collegiate Athletic Association rules would have allowed Guei, whose parents come from the Ivory Coast, to keep the prize money and accept the basketball scholarship.
However, Guei had other ideas. He asked Compton High’s principal, Jesse Jones, to announce to the school at the end-of-year graduation ceremony that the $40,000 (£25,000) would be distributed among the runners-up in the shoot-out.
One of those who has benefited from Guei’s kind-heartedness is 17-year-old Donald Dotson, who told Msnbc.com: ‘He's going to go really far in life. Because of what he’s done for us, God will bless him. That’s what life is all about — stepping forward to help other people.’
Another, Omar Guzman, 17, will use the gift to fund a course at San Diego State University. He told the website: ‘It was a shock. I’m really grateful there are people like that out there. It was generous.’
The free-throw competition was the brainchild of Hollywood screenwriter Court Crandall, who also works for advertising firm Wong, Doody, Crandall, Wiener.
He became concerned that a lack of finances were denying talented students from Compton, a deprived area of Los Angeles, the chance to progress, so he set up the contest and persuaded his firm to donate the prize money.