From the first time Justin Dargahi picked up a basketball, he’s had no trouble making shots.
By his recollection, he made nine of the first 10 shots he ever took, and he hasn’t stopped making them since.
“Since it was always so easy to me, I thought everyone was like that,” Dargahi said. “But right away, I figured out that I was a lot better than everyone else.”
It wasn’t long before Dargahi began to stand out for his natural gift for shooting hoops.
“Even when I would go to arcades and shoot on the (pop-a-shot), people would crowd around me to watch because I would break all the records,” Dargahi said. “It would get so high that it had to reset the score. But what I don’t like about that is that people think, ‘Oh he can only play the arcade games, he can’t really play.’ But I can do both.”
Dargahi, a USF graduate and local realtor for Future Home Realty, recently put his talent to the test when he attempted and broke two Guinness World Records for 3-point shooting.
The first record Dargahi, 35, broke happened on January 4, 2016 when he was searching for a way to put his unique abilities to use.
He said Guinness told him it would cost nearly $5,000 to send a representative out to witness and confirm his record, so he took an alternative option. Dargahi recruited his own rebounders, passers and a licensed referee to document his attempts.
Before long, Dargahi sank 26 NBA-range 3-pointers in a minute at Land O’ Lakes High School, breaking the previous record by one. He packaged the video along with the appropriate verification and waited three months before Guinness confirmed his world record.
With one world record to his name already, Dargahi began looking for the next record he wanted to take down.
That’s when he turned to former Florida Gator and current shooting coach Teddy Dupay.
Dupay, the all-time leading scorer in Florida high school basketball history, was coaching basketball at Cambridge Christian, Dargahi’s old high school.
Dargahi had his sights set on breaking the record for most 3-pointers made in a minute by a tandem, a record previously held by Harlem Globetrotters and Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki.
Though Dargahi’s shot is a tad unconventional — think along the lines of a shot-put with a basketball — Dupay readily agreed to help him tackle the record.
“The mechanics are really good, he’s got his elbow in, he’s the same every time,” Dupay said. “That’s what I look for, any time your shot is the same every time, you can be consistent. The other thing that people need to keep in mind is this isn’t your top of the key 3-pointer, this is an NBA 3-pointer, which is much, much farther. We’re talking four feet farther back, which is a lot.”
Together, the two shooters were able to break the record of 22 3-pointers in what they estimate to be just four or five attempts last month.
Guinness has yet to list the record on their website, but both Dargahi and Dupay are confident it will go through.
Dargahi has since grown past his days of playing high school basketball — he once scored 28 points in a game — and intramural contests at USF — he won $1,000 in a 3-point shootout as a student at USF — to become a local realtor and the varsity girls basketball coach at Gaither High School.
Dargahi said he’s happy with the records he currently owns, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try to take on more in the future. Next on his list is the most 3-pointers made in a two-minute span, which is held by Song Hejing of China (44).
He still plays basketball with his friends every Saturday at Cambridge Christian, but he said his lack of practice hasn’t impacted his shot.
“I hate practice, I don’t practice,” he said. “I didn’t practice for any of these records. I’m very stubborn, I don’t think I need practice.
“Anything with my right arm (comes easy to me). Baseball, I can put the ball wherever I want to. Football, I can play quarterback and throw accurately. My dad was a soccer player and he was all feet and my mom didn’t play basketball. I don’t know where I got it from, but I was definitely born with it, I never had to practice much.”