By Nick Romano
June 09, 2018 at 10:55 AM EDT

Jimmy Kimmel and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have a one-on-one basketball challenge coming up, and all this time in between has yielded some trash talk. Kimmel responded to the latest jabs from Cruz in his opening monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Friday night, and he’s still confident he’s going to win.

“Ted has been doing some trash tweeting,” Kimmel said, noting how Cruz set up a mini basketball hoop in his hotel room with Kimmel’s face on the backboard. “Should I be creeped out that Ted Cruz is hanging photos of me in his hotel room?” Kimmel quipped.

The late-night TV host also responded to comments Cruz made to TMZ at the Senate. “How does TMZ get in the Senate?” Kimmel asked. “For that matter, how did Ted Cruz get in the Senate?”

“My team is terrified Jimmy Kimmel is gonna dunk on me,” Cruz had said in the TMZ video Kimmel aired on his talk show. “I wouldn’t worry about that,” Kimmel said, laughing at himself. “I have a two-inch vertical leap. The only dunking I do is donuts.” But he did want to clarify Cruz’s statement that he had made fun of the Houston Rockets for losing.

“I know what you’re trying to do, Lying Ted. You’re trying to turn the fans against me because you say I made fun of the Rockets,” Kimmel said. “I did not make fun of the Rockets. I made fun of you pretending to be a fan of the Rockets — and for looking like a greasy blobfish while you did it.”

And that’s how it all started, really. Kimmel remarked in June how Cruz looked like a blobfish while attending Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between the Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Cruz then challenged Kimmel over social media to a one-on-one basketball game with the loser donating $5,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. These two are, clearly, on the opposite sides of the political arena, so it’s not a challenge either would want to lose.

“I look forward to one of us making a difference in kids’ lives, and I have a feeling it’s gonna be me,” Kimmel said.

“The Blobfish Basketball Classic,” as Kimmel is calling it, will take place on Saturday, June 16.

  • TV Show
run date
  • 01/26/03
  • In Season
Complete Coverage