Ogden High basketball player G.B. Burningham's sister, Sarah, awakened from a deep sleep early one morning to take a phone call saying her brother had won a contest to play hoops with Shaquille O'Neal.
Later she told her brother about the call, saying she must have dreamed it.
But Burningham, who had entered just such a contest, became suspicious. He called a neighbor — a representative for the Nestle candy company, sponsors of the contest — and discovered that he is a winner.
On Aug. 25, Burningham and nine other boys and girls from around the country will get a chance to challenge O'Neal, the Los Angeles Lakers' star center, to a game of one-on-one.
What Burningham did to earn this honor was drill a half-court shot to beat rival Morgan High, 60-57, 18 months ago.
Back then, his buzzer-beating shot meant bragging rights and a lock on second place in Region 7.
Now, it means a chance for the diehard Utah Jazz fan to test himself against this year's NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
The Nestle Crunch Time contest was open to players who could prove they'd come up big in the clutch. Burningham's high school coach, Jim Price, entered his player in the contest — and that was something of a fluke, too.
Price routinely ignores contest entry forms like the one Nestle sent out, but for some reason he read this one. He immediately recognized that Burningham, who was a junior when he made the shot, had a chance to win based on the criteria — bearing on the game, when the shot happened and crowd reaction.
Burningham knew nothing of the contest until Price told him about it right before he sent the videotape.
"I said 'Hey, G.B., you're going to win this thing. I just recorded the Morgan game and you're going to win it,' " Price said.
Despite that assurance, everyone was stunned when he won.
"I hadn't even told my parents that coach Price had entered me in the contest," Burningham said. "No one knew about it until I had won."
Burningham will play O'Neal in Los Angeles, on the USC campus, after a one-day camp.
The optimistic young man has a plan for tackling Shaq.
"I'll take him out to the perimeter at first," he said. "If that doesn't work, I'll take it to him."
On a more realistic note, he added, "Unless he takes it easy, I'm going to get abused like the rest of the NBA players. There had better be a ref there to call his travels."