Actor John Krasinski recounted his smackdown basketball challenge to actor/director George Clooney and how it went an entirely different way than how he envisioned it. Krasinski heard that Clooney played basketball, so he thought it might be nice to connect over a game. Little did he know Clooney is a fierce competitor who ultimately got the biggest laugh not about beating Krasinski. But instead about how Krasinski went into panic practice before the game.
John Krasinski threw down a basketball challenge to George Clooney thinking it would be ‘endearing’
So who threw down the basketball challenge? “I challenged him,” Krasinski on The Off Camera Show. “I thought I would be endearing.” Krasinski admitted that he did no research or looked into Clooney’s mad basketball skills. Instead, he suggested it as a way to connect. “I had heard that he, like, played basketball with his buddies. I had no idea that he was a fierce competitor. Also, very good at basketball. And a real dudes dude of like, well, don’t challenge me unless you really want to do this.”
Krasinski thought the pickup game would be a no-brainer since Clooney is older. “I was like, ‘Oh, this will be so endearing to him’ that it’s like, we will have like a Norman Rockwell moment of us on the court being like …” he recalled. “And that was the day that the movie all made sense to both of us.” So was it that bonding moment Krasinkski thought with Clooney?
Did George Clooney win the game?
The bonding moment didn’t exactly go down how Krasinski wanted it played out. “Nope! That’s now how it happened at all,” he said. “It was like we were at a long table, one of the first nights I was on set. We were drinking a little bit and someone said something about basketball. George is very charming and sweet about it and self-deprecating. And I was like, ‘I would crush you with one on one.’ He just looked at me with the greatest smile that was like part Cheshire Cat and part the devil. And he was just like, ‘Really?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘You want to play?’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I will give you six points in a game to 11.’ And that’s when everybody at the table was like, ‘Oh boy, oh God.’”
“And Grant Heslov, his partner, was like, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t do that.’ And George is like, ‘Don’t do that. I’m not going to take those points. I wanna play you straight up.’ And I’ll never forget,” he said. “Grant goes, ‘I’ll take those points. Go ahead.’ And he just solidified his bet that night. Like, there was just no way I was going to beat George with a six-point lead. And so George and I played and he beat me.”
But what was the best moment from the challenge?
But getting trounced by Clooney wasn’t the crowning moment. Krasinski said what happened before the game was probably the best moment from the challenge. “And the greatest moment was I was just so nervous and I was going to go to the gym early in the morning and practice by myself,” he recalled.
“I literally was going to practice before playing one on one with him,” Krasinski continued. “And the elevator doors opened and there was George. Like I got in the garage ball, sneakers. Went up to the lobby and the lobby door opened and George just started laughing. There was no words spoken. Just laughing at the visual of me with a brand new ball and brand new sneakers that I was obviously going to practice to play. And I think that was probably his best moment rather than the actual game. So it was fantastic.”
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