NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Saturday’s season finale win over Sam Houston state, Nathan Bain laid down a monster dunk like he does almost every game to get the crowd off their feet.
There was something about this dunk that was different. As Bain made his way down the floor he pointed with his index finger into the crowd. It is not unusual for players to point to their fans. What was different was that the point was for a specific row. Three rows up in the seats behind the SFA bench sat Bain’s mom, dad, brothers and God-brother.
“It was a dream come true for my family to come down,” Bain said. “It was exciting.”
The last game his family saw in person was when the 'Jacks went to Miami early last season. Miami went on to win 96-58.
“You know that wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” Bain said. “Tonight was super special. it was senior night. They traveled a long way. We had to put on a show for them.”
After the game Bain was in tears during the senior day ceremony as he thanked his family for introducing him to the game of basketball. He also thanked the fans for how they have helped his family this past year.
On September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas. Dorian ended up being the worst natural disaster to hit the island country. Bain’s family home was destroyed. His father’s church and school also took on a lot of damage. Pretty much the entire community around his family lost everything.
In the weeks that followed the storm, SFA would set up a GoFundMe page in hopes of helping Bain’s family rebuild. It took 86 days for the page to be noticed.
Eighty-six days after the storm, SFA stepped into Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the No.1 Duke Blue Devils. SFA was big underdogs, 27.5 points to be exact, and why not. Duke had not lost a home game to a non-conference opponent in 150 games.
That didn’t concern SFA. Bain is a man of faith. he is often the one to lead the team prayer at practice. What better person than Bain to take on the role of David. he didn’t slain the giant with a slingshot. He uses a coast-to-coast run and layup at the buzzer in overtime to win 85-83.
Bain’s family was staying with other family in Florida at the time and watching the game on satellite TV.
“With 30 seconds to go in the game, the satellite froze on us,” Nathan’s dad Norris said. “I had a coaching friend on the phone watching and telling me, ‘Boy this is tight.’ When Nate got the ball he started yelling, Nate just beat Duke on a last second shot! I went, ‘Wow!’”
In typical fashion, the satellite feed came back as soon as Bain was doing a live interview with the play-by-play announcers. Norris and his wife were so excited he said they ran out of the room and started telling anyone they could find about the one in a lifetime shot.
If the story ended there it would be great. But that was the beginning of something bigger than basketball.
As word spread on social media of Bain’s game winning shot, word also spread about the GoFundMe Page. Before SFA could get home the next day, the page went from around $2,000 in donations to over $37,000. By Thanksgiving it was over the goal of $50,000 and as of this week the page is at $151,000. Some people gave because they knew the Bain family. Some people gave because they love SFA. Some gave to Bain because they can not stand Duke. It didn’t matter why they gave, the fact is they gave.
“I wasn’t paying much attention to the GoFundMe account," Norris said. “People started telling me and I was like, ‘wow this is amazing.’ To think that one shot in the providence of God is how he would have it be. We have been able to do so much as a result of that to help so many people. I don’t think there are no mistakes in this entire situation.”
In the time that has followed Bain has been interviewed by every local news outlet multiple times. He has gone on ESPN, CNN and even was a guest of honor at the CNN Heroes night. despite all that fame, Bain is the same man around the team and the community.
“Everybody talks about the shot but people are also talking about how he carries himself,” Norris said. “That is great as a father to see that he is carrying the flag of his country so proudly and with such distinction. It makes us proud as a country to see a son of the soil doing so well.”
Work is continuing to be done on Bain’s family property back home. The family has been in touch with the NCAA on all expenditures from the account. The family hopes to be back in the Bahamas by April.
“Without that account we would not have been able to do this so quickly,” Norris said. “We are so thankful for the contributions of our American friends, some of who we have never met.”
It might have been over a year between games they watched in Nathan in person, but Norris said it won’t be that long before the next game. The family plans on being at the NCAA National Tournament with SFA.
“I have a good feeling they will be in the tournament,” Norris said. “This thing has shelf like so lets play it out. This is what movies are made of.”
SFA will play in the Southland Conference semifinals Friday at the Merell Center in Katy.