KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Did you hear the one about Andrew Wiggins?
Not the bit about him wanting to play against Kobe Bryant. Or the comment about the Kansas star and likely No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft wanting to play for his hometown Toronto Raptors.
It was this, today, from actor/comedian — and die-hard KU fan — Jason Sudeikis, when asked to weigh in on the latest Jayhawk sensation:
“I can’t wait to see how well he hits the books, either,” Sudeikis, the “Saturday Night Live” star and Overland Park, Kan., native, deadpanned this morning during a news conference at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.
“You know what I’m really excited about? His sophomore season with the Kansas Jayhawks.
“I think that’s what I’m most looking forward to. It’s his second year in Lawrence that you really blossom as an individual, and a student, and in athletics.”
As he said this, Sudeikis, a frequent visitor to Allen Fieldhouse — and a guest in the KU locker room last year, along with fiancee and fellow actor Olivia Wilde — had his tongue planted firmly inside his cheek.
The 6-foot-7 Wiggins, who’ll suit up as a true freshman with the Jayhawks this fall, is expected to play only one year of college ball before declaring for the pros.
“By the time he’s a senior, I mean, who knows?” said the actor, who was in town to promote the annual “Big Slick” charity poker tournament, after-party and auction he fronts along with fellow comics and Kansas City natives Paul Rudd (“Anchorman”) and Rob Riggle (“The Hangover”).
“We’re talking about four straight national championships with this guy, year after year, as he goes to get his degree. Aaaaaaah … it’s gonna be fun.”
“Big Slick,” now in its fourth year, has raised roughly $1 million for the cancer center at Children’s Mercy. In the past, it’s brought show-biz stars such as Will Ferrell and Jon Hamm to town; this year, the event — which kicks off late this afternoon with a Wiffle ball game at the Little K field that sits adjacent to the Kauffman Stadium concourse — includes the likes of Wilde, Kevin Pollak (“The Usual Suspects”), Will Forte (“MacGruber”), and Sarah Chalke (“Scrubs”).
Poker is the centerpiece of the weekend, but all three actor/comedians with local ties are loud and proud about their love for the area sports teams as well, even with the Royals trying to get over the .500 mark and the Chiefs coming off a 2-14 campaign in 2012.
“Always excited for the Chiefs; are you kidding me?” replied Riggle, who’s part of the NFL on FOX crew. “Even last year, I picked them every week. And it cost me, but I did it. I’m not going to change. I’ll pick them every week this year.
“I love it. We’ve got a new coach (Andy Reid), a new GM (John Dorsey), a new quarterback (Alex Smith), we’ve got a running back from Arkansas (Knile Davis) that’s going to be killer. We’ve got Jamaal Charles. Defense is stout. It’s gonna be a good one in the AFC West. Woo-hoo!”
Speaking of the Chiefs, even oft-booed former quarterback/town pariah Matt Cassel, now with the Minnesota Vikings, got a little love at the news conference. When asked for a scouting report on the Wiffle ball lineups on display at The K, Riggle cracked:
“Wiffle ball isn’t a skill that’s just put out there. (Where) you’re watching, going, ‘Oh, I got to get that guy.’
“But I got to tell you, (actor) Jon Hamm, he takes it downtown quite a bit. He (cranked) it, like, all the time in Year 3. Didn’t he go yard three times?”
Sudeikis: “I can’t remember. I was too busy just picking out who I was going to wrestle.”
Rudd: “I can tell you this. I can tell you who hit it the farthest of anybody who’s ever played is Matt Cassel.”
Riggle: “He hit it out of the Little K and over a big white tent … a little pavilion tent. Not a little tent; a big pavilion tent. Hit it over that. I’ve never seen a Wiffle ball hit that far in my life.”
Sudeikis: “Still has not landed.”
Funny enough — especially for three guys so funny — the trio also pondered aloud at one point if they had actually appeared in the same film together.
“Aren’t all of us in ‘Avengers 2’?” Rudd asked.
Which led to a question about each actor’s respective super power, and this exchange:
Riggle: “(Mine) is finding bargains. Doesn’t save a lot of people, but it helps out the rest of the guys.”
Rudd: “Able to run the 40-yard dash in 5.5.”
Sudeikis: “I can finish anyone’s plate of food.”
Riggle: “Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Sudeikis: “I was going to say … together, we’re basically Kevin James.”
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org