Ted Cruz beats Jimmy Kimmel in charity basketball game
Two weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas challenged Jimmy Kimmel to a charity basketball game, the late-night host and the Republican senator met on the court for the one-on-one match-up.
Neither of these men, obviously, are star athletes, so the event was jokingly named the “Blobfish Basketball Classic.” Kimmel described the game thusly when introducing the footage on Monday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live: “It was ugly, sloppy, and within moments we were gasping for air.”
Kimmel’s team certainly did not skimp on production values. The game was held at Texas Southern University and announced by legendary commentators Gus Johnson and one-time NBA star Isiah Thomas. Kimmel showed up in suit shorts (a reference to LeBron James’ outfit during the first game of the NBA Finals), while Cruz was clad in Houston Rockets gear.
The game was originally meant to be first to 15 points, but as the two players struggled for an hour to even reach six points, they continually revised it down. Between baskets, Kimmel and Cruz would trade political barbs.
“Jimmy, if you make this shot, ABC has to bring back Roseanne,” Cruz offered at one point.
“If you keep touching me like this, no one’s gonna make you a wedding cake,” Kimmel said later, after some intense defense from Cruz.
But it took until the end of the game for Kimmel to make his big political point. With the two of them exhausted and drenched in sweat, Kimmel paused the game to ask Cruz point blank, “Why, when most Republicans in the Senate support coverage for pre-existing conditions, don’t you?” The question is near and dear to Kimmel’s heart, given how his young son was born with a congenital heart condition.
“Jimmy, the facts matter. Everyone agrees there will and should be coverage for pre-existing conditions,” Cruz responded. “The difference is, what Obamacare did, millions of people had their health care changed, and premiums went up. Let me ask you, how many of you had their premiums go up?”
The audience only answered him with boos, but Cruz did end up winning the game.
Watch the full clip above.