Solution: A Glistening Occasion

Written by Josh Alman

The title, flavor text, and clues about college basketball and March Madness suggest that a key to this puzzle is One Shining Moment, the song plays at the end of March Madness broadcasts to a montage of highlights from the tournament. Such a montage has been played each year since 1987, and a convenient list of all of them is available at this link.

Solving the clues (see below for all the data), we see that they give people (or a mascot or location) who appeared in consecutive One Shining Moment montages from 2007 to 2016. As suggested by the numbers in music notes, we can reorder the people by the time they appear in the montage, and use the numbers in notes to index into their names, to get the final answer: SCOREBOARD.

ClueSolutionSolution NoteYear in One Shining Moment
James Bedell thinks he’s the second-to-worst player ever to win an NBA Championship.Gabe PruittJames Bedell compiled a list here.2007
He survived a fight with a bear at his first Sugar Bowl.SmokeySmokey the dog, mascot of Tennessee, fought with the Baylor bear at the 1957 Sugar Bowl.2008
He was the only referee in Louisville’s loss at West Virginia in 2010 who wasn’t suspended from officiating a conference tournament.Les JonesHe ended up working the ACC tournament that year.2009
Although Jim Larranaga is his friend, he told reporters that it’s okay to not like Jim this weekend.Tom IzzoTom’s Spartans are playing against Jim’s Hurricanes in the first round of March Madness this weekend. See here.2010
He shares his name with a former Toronto Raptors player and a current Toronto FC player, but has never played for Toronto himself.Michael BradleyThis is Michael Bradley, who shares his name with Michael Bradley and Michael Bradley.2011
He hasn’t correctly chosen a March Madness winner in his bracket since 2009.Barack ObamaHe released his bracket each year he was president.2012
He’s Harvard’s winningest player.Christian WebsterHe has 90 career victories.2013
He was robbed and shot in an Uber.Cleanthony EarlySee here, for instance.2014
Some say he looks a lot like Ted Cruz, but his parents don’t think so.Grayson AllenDo you think they look similar?2015
Shooting percentages go way down here compared to any other open dome.NRG StadiumMultiple statisticians have noted how hard it seems to be to shoot the basketball at NRG stadium.2016

Reordered by time in the corresponding One Shining Moment video:

NameYearTime in video (see here for all videos)Index Number (from music notes)Letter (index number into name)
Smokey20080:041S
Barack Obama20120:135C
Tom Izzo20100:322O
Cleanthony Early20140:4113R
Gabe Pruitt20071:324E
Christian Webster20131:5612B
Les Jones20092:105O
NRG Stadium20162:166A
Grayson Allen20152:22–2:412R
Michael Bradley20112:5111D

Author's Notes

  • The people should be sorted by time in the song. However, since the song starts right at the beginning of each video, solvers can instead use time in the video as an equivalent measure which is easier to record.
  • Some of these people appear in multiple One Shining Moment videos, but most of them are unique, and these should be enough to suggest that we need people from consecutive years of the videos.
  • I would have loved to clue more players who are now well-known NBA players, but unfortunately, these players tend to be the ones who appear multiple times in the same One Shining Moment video.