Blobfish Basketball Classic: Ted Cruz beats Jimmy Kimmel

I’ll get right to it. The much ballyhooed Blobfish Basketball Classic ended in an 11-9 victory for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) over talk show host and political activist Jimmy Kimmel. They were supposed to play to 15 but 40 minutes into the game, they mutually agreed to just play to 11. The game, played for charity, was held at Texas Southern University, a public historically black university in Houston. Why was it called the Blobfish Basketball Classic? Kimmel compared Cruz to a blobfish on his show one night so Cruz challenged him to a game of one on one.

The line began forming Saturday morning for the 5:00 P.M. game. The temperature was well into the 90’s. Senator Cruz was also in the midst of the Republican Party of Texas’ state convention in San Antonio. Tickets were free but registration was required. Seating was first come, first served. Texas Southern University is in Houston’s Third Ward where the Juneteenth parade and celebration was also underway. The winner agreed to write a check for $5,000 to the non-political charity of his choice. In the case of Cruz, it was Generation One, Inc. which services the impoverished areas in the Third Ward, and Kimmel chose Texas Children’s Hospital. After Kimmel’s loss, he pledged to double his donation to  $10,000 to his choice of charity and Cruz pledged $10,000 to his, so there were no losers. Except for Kimmel, which is fitting here in Texas. People actually came from out of state for this thing. The local ABC network affiliate, ABC13, ran the game after their late night news broadcast.

There was plenty of trash talking from both men. Kimmel peppered Cruz with political policy questions during the game. It was all as you would expect, especially given Kimmel’s newly minted role as America’s latest social justice warrior disguised as a late night talk show host. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner welcomed Kimmel before the game and presented him with some Houston swag. He expressed his pleasure at the people coming in from out of town or out of state.  “It’s not too much about the game or whoever wins, the city has already won,” he said.

Neither men are known for athletic prowess but Cruz did play on the basketball team in high school. Kimmel acknowledged his lack of skill on the court and said, “I’m at least as good of a basketball player as Ted Cruz is a senator.” Kimmel also predicted the game would be “the worst basketball game ever.”

The crowd was a predominantly pro-Kimmel one and it was mostly Kimmel providing what he passes off as humor.  The crowd drowned out Cruz as he answered Kimmel’s questions on illegal immigrant children’s detention and on health care.

Cruz and Kimmel missed more than 100 shots between them during the game. Toward the end, Cruz’s shirt had darkened a few shades from his sweat. Courtside helpers had to wipe the floor a few times because both players were sweating profusely. Cruz joked afterward that they also set the Guinness World Record for fouls.

At the end, Kimmel couldn’t resist one more jab.

“Ted, you’re a good sport,” he said. “I still think you’re a terrible senator.”

“Kids, at least you got to see your daddy win something,” he added to Cruz’s daughters, who joined Cruz and his wife, Heidi, on the court.

Typical Kimmel crudely dragging Cruz’s kids into a demeaning joke at their dad’s expense. I admit I have never been a Kimmel fan. His loutish style of humor isn’t funny and it’s often been quite misogynistic, especially earlier in his talk show days. At least two good organizations benefitted by this silly event. I’ll leave you with this tweet. I agree with Cruz here, the charities were the winners Saturday evening in Houston.

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Jazz Shaw 5:01 PM on March 22, 2023