It only took 17 seconds for Thomas “Snacks” Lee to become an internet sensation after making a memorable appearance during a game last month.
And the popularity of the Jackson State team manager continued for much longer than that in the form of attention national TV networks and numerous interview requests across various media platforms.
Everyone from NBA players to the ‘Today Show’ wanted to revel in Lee’s remarkable story.
The exposure placed a welcoming focus on Jackson State University and the SWAC, commissioner Charles McClelland explained during a conversation with HBCU GameDay.
But the current coronavirus pandemic — which has placed college sports at an indefinite standstill — robbed the public of consuming more of the budding personality on the court and preventing Lee himself from further capitalizing off it, too.
“Not only did it help the SWAC conference, but it helped Jackson State,” McClelland said. “Unfortunately, the coronavirus took a lot of money out of Snacks’ hands. He was ready to get commercials that were going to be aired as part of the Final Four.”
Lee’s growing acclaim was forging the SWAC into potential economic stratospheres that it hadn’t been before, said McClelland.
“We were starting to see some positive momentum from a conference standpoint sponsoring,” he said. “Snacks put us in areas that were difficult to penetrate.”