Best snooker shot ever? Jimmy White's ridiculous 'shot of the century' trick vs O'Sullivan in 1993

It has been 29 years since one of the greatest players in the English game brought us one of the most memorable snooker shots of all time.

The first meeting between legends Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan played out in Hamburg in January 1993, resulting in what has since been named ‘the shot of the century’.

A 17-year-old O’Sullivan appeared to have gotten the best of his rival, pinning the white behind the blue, with the brown ball well out of reach.

While White was 13 years O’Sullivan’s superior, no experience in the game could have prepared him for taking on this seemingly impossible shot.

But against all odds, ‘The Whirlwind’ found a way.

Perching himself on the edge of the table and lifting his cue to a near-90-degree angle, he nonchalantly struck the white with so much backspin that it violently swerved around the blue and collided with the brown.

The massé shot brought the entire European crowd to their feet with a standing ovation.  

It was later labelled the ‘shot of the century’ by TV presenter David Vine, which feels somewhat understated.

Unfortunately, the words ‘couldn’t have done it again if he tried’ rang true for White, as he missed a similarly difficult attempt later in the match.

But it would end well for White, who went on to win the 1993 Matchroom European League that season, defeating Alan McManus 10-7 in the final.

Portrait of snooker player Jimmy White of Great Britain during the World Snooker Championship on 22 April 2002 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

The pair went on to face each other 47 times throughout their careers, with O’Sullivan taking 33 wins compared to White’s 10, and a further 4 ending in a tie.

While White struggled to get the best of his English counterpart in their matchups, his career featured many more successes than just his extraordinary shot nearly three decades ago.

Turning pro in 1980, he has won three seniors world titles, most recently in 2020, and became a World doubles champion in 1984 alongside Alex Higgins. At the height of his career, between 1987 and 1989, White was ranked second in the world.  

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