ESPYS winner Thomas ‘Snacks’ Lee hopes to inspire people with low self-esteem


To win the Can’t-Stop-Watching Moment at the 2020 ESPYS [Sunday night] feels great. Any time you can bring positive exposure to your city, to your state. Any time you can represent your family and those who support you, it’s incredible, especially on this big platform.

Now I just want to use my platform to inspire those who might have low self-esteem and show them that there are other ways to be successful — [not just the] negative things that social media will portray. Overall, I think this award and this moment will give bigger guys confidence.

It doesn’t matter how you look. You can achieve your goals.

After I hit the deep 3-pointer that went viral in [Jackson State’s] 76-56 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on our Senior Day in March, I figured I might be popular locally. But as time went on, there was more buzz and more opportunities.

Before Sunday, the wildest moment since that night had been my appearance on the “Today” show. But an ESPY? Man, I don’t remember anybody from our state or our conference or an HBCU winning that major award.

It’s amazing.

When I entered that game in March, I was a team manager who’d never played in a real game. But I had the ultimate confidence. My teammates told me, “We believe in you, so every time we pass it to you, let it fly.” They gave me the green light.

I knew that if I got open, I’d eventually hit one, even though I missed the first three, and I did with 17 seconds to play in the game.

It went viral.

I got a tweet from Kevin Durant. Wow. It’s always good when your favorite player notices you after something like that.

It’s been hectic since that night. I haven’t had time to promote my band, Thomas & Friends. We play jazz, R&B, a mixture of everything.

Everywhere I go, a lot of people ask me to recreate the shot. Any time I go to the gym, they’ll ask me to shoot from half court.

But one of my goals now is to play in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game next season. I also want to put out content and maybe do things like Spice Adams, the former NFL player who is now a social media star.

First, I want to thank God and I want to thank my aunt for bringing me around the Jackson State program. I want to thank my management and social media team for helping us promote this. The Jackson State community has really supported me too. They’ve rallied behind me.

It’s always a pleasure to be in elite company. It was tough beating Simone Biles to advance to the final four of the voting. There were a lot of great contestants in that category. It took togetherness and unity to pull off the upset.

Once we beat Simone, I kind of felt like we were in the driver’s seat.

People always ask me about the nickname, “Snacks.” Well, about 10 years ago, I was around the Jackson State program. I would always bring my lunch and food in. I had a pregame ritual where I gave the team Skittles. Over the course of time, nobody ever knew my name, so one day they said, “We gotta give this guy a nickname.” That’s how I became “Snacks.”

After winning this award, I realize that people will probably call me “Snacks” for the rest of my life.

And I’m fine with that.



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