The Los Angeles Lakers came away from last year's NBA Finals hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but perhaps the biggest winner of the 2010 postseason was Ricardo Reyes, a 41-year-old busboy who became an NBA giant-killer on national television.
Reyes, who works at the West Hollywood, Calif., restaurant Barney's Beanery, became a minor luminary last summer by using his seemingly preternatural penchant for Pop-A-Shot to demolish a who's who of NBA greats in the bar basketball game on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live! Game Night" broadcasts. The bald, diminutive table-clearer wiped the floor with the likes of LeBron James, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom and Carmelo Anthony, as studio audiences cheered on the unlikely underdog.
Thanks in part to coverage on sites like this one, Reyes' story seemed to pique the interest of Internet audiences, as well; clips of the busboy demolishing the five pros have totaled nearly 3 million views on Kimmel's YouTube channel. Reyes' prowess even served as the backbone of a great feature on the game written by Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated. It was fun stuff.
With the NBA Finals returning to ABC this summer and Kimmel lining up another set of "Game Night" broadcasts, it made perfect sense to bring Reyes back to square off against a new set of challengers, led by Los Angeles Clippers All-Star and NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin. But we've already seen this little dude double-up Hall of Famers; there had to be a twist, a new wrinkle, an added degree of difficulty.
Enter the blindfold.
A very strong effort, Blakey GriffGriffs, but you blew it by going two-handed and too fast in the closing seconds, missing some bunnies (well, they're kind of all bunnies) that could have put you over the top. Classic rookie mistake. Better luck next time, loser.
It's a safe bet that the remaining "Game Night" broadcasts will feature more NBA stars of this year or yesteryear, and all will meet the same fate as Griffin. This is why I demand Kimmel put Reyes up against a legitimate threat to his throne: the lady who put up 256 points in two minutes. Now that would be some hot Pop-A-Shot action.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to view the blindfolded beatdown and the rest of Ricardo's Pop-A-Shot victories at the official "Jimmy Kimmel Live" YouTube channel.