Comedian Kevin Nealon, performing at Suncoast, staying active on courts, fairways


As if you needed another reason to think George Clooney has it all, he's apparently a really good basketball player, on top of being an Oscar-winning sex symbol beloved by friends and strangers alike.

Anyway, comedian Kevin Nealon plays basketball with famous people on occasion. Clooney could be the best star he's played with, he says.

Second-best may be David Duchovny, also a sex symbol beloved by friends and strangers alike.

"Clooney: He's like Duchovny," Nealon says. "He's a good guard, and he's got a good set shot -- almost effortless."

But there was a very non-Clooney celebrity basketball player who had "coordinated, fluid, good moves."

"Chris Farley," Nealon says. "He was very light on his feet. It always amazes me that people who are heavy are light on their feet. Apparently he took ballet classes. That's what his brother told me.

"Artie Lange is like that, too," Nealon says.

Nealon judges himself as good on defense and rebounds, because he's 6-feet-4.

"I'm not a good ball mover or a quick passer or dribbler," he reports. "Apparently, my hands and arms are strong, according to several people."

Nealon is good at "grabbing the ball," because he played rugby for three years in his youth. He didn't lose any teeth playing rugby.

"But I did hear a lot of noses breaking in the scrums."

He swings through a lot of celebrity golf tournaments.

"I'm not a good golfer. They pair me up with Charles Barkley," Nealon says. "He's got some psychological hitch in his swing. Just before he hits the ball, he stops his swing. When he starts up again, he has 8 inches to go before he hits the ball.

"It's the infamous Charles Barkley swing. He's worked with hypnotists and golf pros. He just can't fix it."

Nealon skis and hikes. And:

"I was on the table tennis team in college. I went to a small college (Sacred Heart University) but we played Yale. Not too many people had table tennis teams, so we played whatever school had them."

He bowls a few times a week with his wife and 4-year-old son. He plays Wiffle ball and soccer with his kid in the yard.

"He's still young. I'm not gonna be one of those fathers that's really intense and pushes him," he says.

"I play a lot of sports," he says. "I'm not real good at any of them. I'm above adequate."

Golf is his favorite: "You can play into your 80s or 90s. There's always that possibility you could hit a hole in one or get better at the sport."

As for basketball, he hasn't been playing a lot lately, though he's recovered from ripping a bicep muscle on the court last summer.

"I've run into a lot of people in their 30s that say, 'You still play basketball? I stopped that a long time ago, because there are too many injuries.' "

Such is the jeopardy of gaming with celebrities his age, 57.

"They're kind of clumsy and not that coordinated, so you're tripping up a lot."

Doug Elfman's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Contact him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

 

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