Last fall, tennis’s rowdiest underperformer Nick Kyrgios said he was pulling out of the Rotterdam Open, an ATP 500 tournament that begins in four days, so he could compete in the NBA’s Celebrity Game during All-Star Weekend. This struck me as wise for a few reasons. First, late in last year’s season, when Kyrgios was cranky and overtaxed, it seemed like the 21-year-old needed to build more rest into his schedule and could afford to pick his tournaments more judiciously. Second, it’s not particularly fun to watch the Australian play tennis when he’s distracted and would rather be elsewhere (except in the sense that it’s “fun” to rubberneck). Third, and most importantly, he would finally deliver on all his swooning declarations of love for basketball.
Kyrgios often describes hoops—and not the sport in which he happens to be ranked 15th in the world—as his passion, and his Twitter bio reads “Tennis player. Boston Celtics #74.” (No notable past or present Celtic has rocked that number, so perhaps he’s calling dibs on his future jersey once he’s finished with the whole tennis jaunt.) His jumper looked fairly smooth on court with fellow tennis star Gael Monfils, back in 2014. Kyrgios trying to get around Win Butler’s staunch defense would have been thrilling television.
But as is often the case with this dude, all my expectations came crashing on top of my dumb credulous head. Celebrity Game rosters were released today, and Kyrgios is nowhere to be found.
Team Smith (West): Miles Brown (actor), Tom Cavanagh (actor), Mark Cuban (Mavs owner), Baron Davis, Andy Grammer (recording artist) Jiang Jinfu (actor, model), Anthony Mackie (actor), Romeo Miller (rapper), Hasan Minhaj (actor, comedian), Master P (rapper), Candace Parker (WNBA), Aaron Sanchez (celebrity chef)
Team Hill (East): Brandon Armstrong (former NBA), Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Nick Cannon, Rachel DeMita (NBA2K TV personality), Ansel Elgort (actor, recording artist), Marc Lasry (Bucks owner), Caleb McLaughlin (actor), Peter Rosenberg (media personality), Oscar Schmidt (former NBA), Lindsay Whalen (WNBA), Jason Williams, Kris Wu (recording artist)
Did Kyrgios get bumped from the roster for the likes of Ansel Elgort? We’ve reached out to the NBA for comment on this situation, and will update when we’ve heard back.