The idea came almost instantly.
As he watched Kawhi Leonard sink that now-legendary buzzer-beater against Philadelphia to send the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals, Jared Jacobs knew exactly what he needed to do: re-create it with Lego.
“I [realized] that’s such an iconic moment,” Jacobs told HuffPost Canada. “I stopped what I was doing and [decided] I was going to carve out some time to make this.”
Jacobs, a stop-motion animator who grew up in Calgary and is now based in Boise, Idaho, said the moment took him back to 2001, when former Raptor Vince Carter also went for a buzzer-beater against the 76ers — and missed.
“As soon as it went in, I was like ‘I’m going to recreate that.’ I just didn’t know when.”
That’s because he was about to start work on a similar video for the Golden State Warriors — the team the Raptors would eventually take on and defeat to score their first-ever NBA championship.
Jacobs put off the Leonard clip for a few weeks to avoid a “conflict of interest,” but eventually got down to it. Around 40 hours of work later, voila:
The clip is just 20 seconds, but Jacobs said having that much movement for the cheering Lego “fans” added a lot of work.
“Moving all those mini figures in the crowd just takes so long to do,” he said. “Sometimes it can take a half hour per frame, where you’re just moving all those people.”
All those hours have definitely paid off. Jacob’s video was shared on the Toronto Raptors’ Instagram page, racking up almost a million views. It spread like wildfire on Twitter. Media outlets have pounced on it.
“It’s been awesome. The reaction has just been crazy. All the places that have reached out have been amazing. All the Canadians, everybody in my family is just sharing it everywhere and showing me stuff that I didn’t even seen,” he said.
“It’s been awesome. The reaction has just been crazy.”
Jacobs said he hopes the video helps Leonard to stay with Toronto and chase another championship, although he admits it’s “naive” to think a stop-motion Lego video would have any effect on the player’s decision.
“If I can have any small piece in Kawhi deciding to stay in Toronto because of like a silly Lego video that I did for him, that would just be amazing as far as I’m concerned.”