April 14, 2018

Mario Chalmers humbled by mural on side of apartment building in KC

Mario Chalmers’ game-tying, overtime-inducing three-point basket in the 2008 national championship game against Memphis is shown on the center video board prior to introductions of Kansas basketball players before every game at Allen Fieldhouse.

Pictures of “The Shot” hang outside the Jayhawks’ practice facility, in bars and restaurants in Lawrence and in dens of untold numbers of KU fans across the country.

Now, a mural of Chalmers is available for all to see on the side of the new Two Light Luxury Apartments, located at 1444 Grand Blvd., just down the block from, and across the street from, the Sprint Center.

It seems Chalmers’ swish is as popular as ever 10 years after the fact.

“I’m never amazed by it. I know how much that shot meant to the University of Kansas,” the now-31-year-old Chalmers said Saturday. He was guest of honor at the official unveiling of the apartment building's mural celebrating the shot that spurred KU to a 75-68 OT victory over John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers.

“This is a great honor not only for me but my son, too. He’s living in Lawrence right now. Anytime he comes to Kansas City, he gets to see my picture out here. He gets to see my picture in Lawrence. It’s good for him to have somebody to look up to, so I’m proud of it," Chalmers said.

“This means a lot to me," Chalmers added. "A kid from Anchorage, Alaska, that wasn’t supposed to make it is on the side of a building in Kansas City. It’s something to be proud of. It’s bigger than me. It’s more about my family. Of course it’s about Kansas. It’s always about the Jayhawks."

As far as the lingering allure of the shot, Chalmers smiled and said: “Everybody likes a good story going into March Madness."

Chalmers is a nine-year NBA veteran. He averaged 7.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds while logging 21.5 minutes a game in 66 games for the Memphis Grizzlies this past season. He said he followed the 2017-18 Jayhawks closely during the regular season and especially during the postseason.

“I was going. I had my ticket bought,” Chalmers said of the NCAA championship game.

He didn’t need the ticket for a flight to San Antonio and his ticket for the game after KU’s Final Four semifinals loss to Villanova.

“I was ready," Chalmers said. "I was hoping for them. I was pulling for my Jayhawks like I always do, especially (the game) being in San Antonio, where we won it (in 2008). I would have gone to the first game (vs. Villanova), but it didn’t work out. We were in Portland. We had a game the next day and couldn’t get back and forth."

Of the 31-8 Jayhawks, who won the Big 12 regular-season title and the league’s postseason tourney title en route to the Final Four, Chalmers said: “Coach (Bill) Self did it again. We didn’t go all the way, but he got the team back to the Final Four. That’s what he’s known for — winning.”

Chalmers said he’s remained close to his 2008 title teammates.

“We always reach out to each other, talk to each other as much as we can,” Chalmers said. “I talked to D-Block (Darnell Jackson) a week ago. My family and Brandon Rush’s family always get together and do something every summer. We’ll always stay close together.”

Chalmers at 31 is not ready to retire.

“I”m still going,” he said. “This year was all about showing I was healthy coming off an Achilles injury. (He missed the 2016-17 season.) I want to play three or four more years, at a competitive level, go from there. I’m a free agent. We’ll see what the summer brings.”

Chalmers will be in Lawrence in July for several events benefiting his Mario V. Chalmers Foundation. For details on bowling and golf events as well as a field day for children, go to MarioVChalmersFoundation.org.

“I’ll always bleed red, white and blue to the day I die. I love Kansas to death,” he said Saturday.

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