While everyone was busy watching the events of the All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Canada, former Indiana Pacers shooting guard Reggie Miller and hip-hop star Drake showed off their prowess at ping-pong.
The two celebrities played in front of NBA stars and some fans just before the All-Star Game between the Eastern and the Western conferences. TNT recorded the match, and the highlights were shown before the basketball game.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) February 12, 2016
Miller, 50, began the first set with a flurry of attacks, which seemed to catch the Toronto-based rapper off guard. Watching from the panel, Drake commented that Reggie is a multi-talented player. The former Pacers guard’s long arms helped him stay in control during the earlier part of the first set.
However, Drake, 29, bounced back later in the set with his impressive plays in order to bag the set, 1-0.
Miller, who is an NBA on TNT analyst, made sure to close out better in the second set, tying the score at one set apiece.
Drake began the last set with a stunning 17-11 lead, which meant he only needed four points more to win the match. But Reggie was as patient as ever, defending and attacking at the same time, which slowly ate on the rapper’s lead.
The five-time all-star set up a 9-2 run, leading to a 20-19 scorecard, and later, Drake committed a costly error in returning the ball that ended the match.
“This is it. This is the most devastating moment of the last few years for me,” the hip-hop star says in the background.
Reggie Miller beat @Drake in ping-pong but it was a close match!
— NBA On Def Pen (@NBAOnDefPen) February 15, 2016
Miller won two sets to one.
The NBA ASG Global Ambassador has long been regarded as a big fan of ping-pong or table tennis. In fact, during his birthday a few months ago, he posted a photo on Instagram showing one of his most prized gifts: a golden table tennis paddle.
As a result, Miller, who was working with the TNT team on the coverage of the NBA All-Star Weekend, found out about Drake’s “mastery” of the sport. He then sent him a challenge on social media a few weeks ago.
“Working on my NBA All-Star plans and my peeps say @Drake is a master ping pong player, maybe he’s up for a match,” said Reggie Miller.
Working on my NBA All-Star plans and my peeps say @Drake is a master ping pong player, maybe he’s up for a match????????????????..
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) February 4, 2016
Drake accepted, and the international ping-pong match between the United States and Canada was set.
“Master is a bit of a stretch. But then again you have to stretch before everything works out. So yes Reginald @ReggieMillerTNT…it’s a go!” Drake replied.
Master is a bit of a stretch. But then again you have to stretch before everything works out. So yes Reginald @ReggieMillerTNT… its a go!
— Drizzy (@Drake) February 4, 2016
While some people thought that this was a friendly match between the two table tennis enthusiasts, the intensity seemed to have shown otherwise. Both were sweating profusely and looked so focused in the closing exchanges of the third set.
The match was very exciting, and Uproxx called it the “most riveting” part of the All-Star Weekend.
Right after the match, Drake congratulated Reggie Miller, who received a championship belt similar to those seen in the WWE.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 15, 2016
However, it seems Drake could not take the loss and just let go of the fact that someone beat him at his own game in his own country. So when the video returned to the All-Star Game pre-game coverage, the rapper told everyone in the TNT panel that he will have a rematch with Reggie Miller, this time before the NBA Conference Finals.
When he was asked if he was willing to travel to the United States just for the game, he simply agreed.
So that’s it. It seems a rivalry has officially begun, and it’s not in basketball, but ping-pong.
[Photos by Katy Winn and Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images]