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Original Issue

Hannibal Buress

The comedian, pickle-juice aficionado (search for it on YouTube) and former SNL writer plays a low-energy hype man in Kevin Durant's new Nike commercial.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:How did the commercial come about?

Hannibal Buress: I saw the casting breakdown after one of my friends went and auditioned. It said they were looking for an MC at a Rucker Park--style court, "a late-20s, early-30s, not particularly athletic Hannibal Buress type." I hadn't even gotten a call. I went, What the hell?

SI:You're about as Hannibal Buress type as they come.

HB: Yeah, so they offered it.

SI:You're a big sports fan. Do you just watch games, or are you following talk radio and the talking-head shows?

HB: I find that even more fascinating than playing a sport professionally—the idea of talking about a sport professionally [laughs]. And not having to be right. You just have to fill time. I'm just going to argue with you. It's interesting to watch Skip [Bayless] and Stephen A. Smith. It'd be boring if Stephen A. said, "Yeah, this is what I believe in," and Skip is like, "Yeah, me too."

SI:What's your take on A-Rod?

HB: I'm not a huge baseball fan. I appreciate the athleticism and the skill, but I don't want to watch the whole thing. I just want a recap, like on a TV show: "Previously, on baseball ..." Thirty seconds tops.

SI:Another big story now is the Jets' QB situation. Thoughts?

HB: Mark Sanchez signed that extension in the [2012] off-season that should be inspiring to people around the country who are mediocre at their jobs. I don't know if it's inspiring or discouraging: I can't do that at my job and get extended.

SI:What's your best sports memory?

HB: All the championships with the Bulls. But I was just a kid. That last championship was '98, so I was 15. The thing I talk about with friends is wanting to have been around a dynasty and be in the nightlife when the Bulls were killing it. Because I wonder if it would have just been easy to get laid. "Hey, Bulls won again. Wanna...."

SI:What was the scouting report on Hannibal the player?

HB: Not a good jump shot. Scrappy, dive for loose balls, good defense. Who would be my NBA equivalent? I don't know. I can't think of too many 5'5" guys who don't have some kind of ability.


For a video Q&A with Hannibal Buress, go to