Chappelle’s Show produced a ton of memorable and infinitely quotable sketches over the course of its relatively short run, but there aren’t many that stand out quite like Charlie Murphy’s “True Hollywood Story” about playing pick-up basketball with Prince.
Based on the patently absurd nature of the tale in question, you could be forgiven for thinking the comedian made the entire thing up, and while he may have embellished some of the details of a game that probably looked a bit different than the reenactment would lead you to believe, Eddie Murphy has confirmed it wasn’t a huge departure from what actually transpired in real life.
That may come as a bit of a shock to people who aren’t intimately familiar with the life of the musician who passed away in 2016 at the age of 51 following a legendary career largely defined by the masterpiece that is Purple Rain.
However, over the years, a number of stories have surfaced that lend a ton of credibility to the aforementioned bit from Chappelle’s Show, as Prince was actually a diehard basketball fan who never strayed far from the sport he fell in love with when he was a kid.
A look back at Prince’s lifelong love of basketball
Prince was the child of two musicians and began to follow in the footsteps of his parents at a young age, but he also made plenty of time for the other hobbies he took a liking to while growing up.
That includes basketball, as he rocked a pretty mean afro as a member of the team at Bryant Junior High. He was also talented enough to make the varsity squad at Central High School (where he also played football and baseball), and his former coach once described him as an “excellent player” who was a solid contributor off of the bench despite his 5’2″ stature at the time.
The pickup game that was chronicled in Chappelle’s Show took place at his hallowed Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, which boasted the basketball court he constructed on the estate.
However, he also had plenty of chances to work on his game while he was touring, as there were even occasions when he brought out a hoop on stage during concerts in order to show off his skills.
The Minneapolis native was a fixture at Timberwolves games (at one point, he tinkered with the idea of teaming up with Magic Johnson to buy the team), but his fandom wasn’t limited to that particular franchise.
As was the case with many basketball fans in the 1990s, Prince appreciated Michael Jordan’s dominance to the point where he set up a monitor that allowed him to watch the Bulls in the playoffs while performing to a packed house in Montreal, and even had an assistant write the score on large cards so he could get the latest updates while shredding on his guitar.
Prince was also apparently a pretty talented ping-pong player (a pastime that reportedly contributed to his long-running feud with Michael Jackson), but it had nothing on his passion for basketball.