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Video: Colts' Harnish hits half-court shot in jersey challenge

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Matt Hasselbeck takes No. 8, but Norwell students benefit

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 6:30 am

When Matt Hasselbeck joined the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent, his longtime jersey number (8) belonged to Norwell High School alum Chandler Harnish.

At first, Hasselbeck was going to wear the No.11 he had as a rookie with the Green Bay Packers, but the two started talking and came up with a plan. If Harnish could hit a half-court basketball shot on one try, Hasselbeck would pay $8,000 to Harnish for the jersey.

Harnish hit the shot on his first try, and the players posted the now-popular video Tuesday.

“Give all the credit to Matt Hasselbeck; it was his idea,” Harnish said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Hasselbeck's children were really pushing to have him remain No. 8 as he was in Seattle and Tennessee, Harnish said, because that's the only number they'd known their father to wear.

Harnish, who wore No. 12 in high school and college, wasn't too attached to No. 8.

“I was willing to give it up for the right price,” Harnish said. “He had the idea to do something kind of cool, to get fans involved and it turned out to be something for charity.”

The two took their competition to an Indianapolis Salvation Army gym.

Harnish hit the shot on his first try, as any native Indiana boy should.

“You are a Hoosier!” Hasselbeck wrote about Harnish on Twitter after the video was posted.

Harnish said he and Hasselbeck invited some of the people who were at the Salvation Army in to watch him shoot and encouraged them to celebrate when Harnish made the shot.

“We were kind of thinking it might take a few different shots to get it,” Harnish said. “Lo and behold, my first one, I go out and nail it. Everyone was so surprised. That's what makes the video so funny. Everything is candid, a real celebration. It was kind of cool to do that.”

Harnish said he will donate the $8,000 to Norwell's “Dollars for Scholars” program in honor of Heath Bumgarner, a student who died in an accident in March. Dollars for Scholars provides college scholarship awards to Norwell seniors for academic achievement.

Harnish had a few uniform numbers to choose from once he gave up No. 8, but he picked No. 5, worn last year by Drew Stanton, now with the Arizona Cardinals.

“I'm still close with Drew and he was my first mentor when I got to the league, so I'm wearing No. 5 in honor of Drew,” Harnish said. “We'll still have 12, 8 and 5.”

Harnish said Hasselbeck's reputation as a great person is well-deserved.

“I've only been around him a couple days and you can see he takes the bull by the horn, if you will,” Harnish said. “He said, 'Let's do something cool and use Twitter and Facebook and get a lot of people involved. It'll be good for the Colts and good for you and the team and the community, and get your friends and family involved.'

“We came up with him paying me, but I do something for a greater cause.”

Here's the video posted by both players: