RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas -- A school teacher in South Texas, who completed two difficult basketball shots in a half-time contest promotion, is suing the farm team of the Houston Rockets claiming they reneged on their promise to give him a brand new car.
Jose Solis, a school teacher in Rio Grande City, attended a Rio Grande Valley Vipers game in Hidalgo January 23rd. The Vipers are the 2012-2013 NBA Development League Champions affiliated with the Houston Rockets. Solis says he was approached before the game to take part in a promotion that could win him a brand new Jaguar.
At halftime he was brought onto the court and told by the announcer that he had 60 seconds to make a three-point shot and then a half-court shot. If he did, he was told, he would win that new car.
Home video captured what happened next.
Solis missed his first three attempts at a three-pointer but hit one on his fourth try from the baseline corner. He then raced with the ball to midcourt and sunk a half-court shot in the opposite basket on the very first try.
The small crowd erupted in applause, his winning shots were replayed on the big screen in State Farm Arena, and the announcer congratulated him on his win.
"It was incredible,” Solis told KHOU 11 News. “It was incredible all of those people cheering for me.”
But on Friday, 10 months after the contest, Solis filed a lawsuit against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers organization. He was never given the car he says he was promised and now has a legal team accusing the Vipers of breach of contract and fraud. He says his troubles began the day after the event when he first spoke with a representative of the car dealership connected to the promotion.
"Basically congratulating me about those two shots but (that) unfortunately I had done it the wrong way,” he says the dealership told him.
The dealership, which is not named in the civil lawsuit, claimed he was supposed to make the three-pointer and half-court shots in just two shots, not in as many shots as he wanted 60 seconds as representatives of the basketball organization told him.
"The Vipers and Mr. Solis entered into an oral contract that they have reneged for whatever reason, we'll soon find out, and we are asking them to step to the line and honor their agreement,” said Solis’ attorney Jeffrey Stern.
We contacted the Vipers and received a return call from Vipers President Bert Garcia. But he said he was unaware of the lawsuit or the controversy and would have to investigate further before he could issue a comment.
Solis says instead of the Jaguar the organization did offer him season tickets and an all expenses paid trip to see the Houston Rockets. He says he was eventually offered free use of a car for the next two years, but not full ownership of a Jaguar. But Solis says he wants the vehicle he was promised. And since he says he is asked nearly every day by students where his new car is, he says also wants to teach his students a lesson.
"A company, a big corporation, cannot be bullying a little guy,” he said.
Now the little guy is taking his shot at getting that car, additional compensation, and attorney’s fees in a completely different kind of court.