The 45-year-old star of Jason Bourne couldn't make the varsity hoops team in Cambridge, Mass., but he plays mean defense when it comes to the reputations of local heroes.
DAN PATRICK:What sport did you play in high school?
MATT DAMON: I got a varsity letter in theater. That's true. The big sport we played was basketball. I went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin High, and I grew up on Patrick Ewing's street. I used to see Pat [a Cambridge Rindge alum] all the time when I was a little kid. When I was in high school, 6'2" Rumeal Robinson played for us, so my 5'10" ass wasn't making the team.
DP:Did you go to Celtics games?
MD: My dad would get tickets to one game a year. Obviously not a Lakers game. Nobody could get tickets for those, but we used to see [Michael] Jordan a lot. We would win pretty handily, but Jordan would score 40, 50 points.
DP:What sport would Jason Bourne have played? No varsity letter for him in theater, I would imagine.
MD: It's more likely that he's got MMA on his résumé.
DP:Last time a Boston sports team made you cry?
MD: In 2004 when we won the World Series, I went back to Boston for the parade. I was just standing on the street, and tears started rolling down my face. I think the people in Cleveland just went through the same thing. It's like this load gets lifted. The whole character of our city changed when the Red Sox won the World Series. It was crazy.
DP:Who would you put in the Hall of Fame first, Bill Belichick or Roger Clemens?
DP:Why do you think Clemens isn't in the Hall?
MD: I don't know. I grew up watching him, and he was so unbelievably dominant for the Red Sox. I always assumed that when he went to Toronto and had this incredible uptick in his performance, that was the moment he started to misbehave. It was out of professional pride. I look at my own life. I have this thing that I love to do, and I only get better at it. I talked to some major leaguers who are out of the league who said the most frustrating aspect is that as they got older, they knew so much more. That's got to be an unbelievably frustrating thing—your physical skills deteriorate as your knowledge and wisdom increase.
DP:I think Ben Affleck might have been 'roid raging when he ripped the NFL on Bill Simmons's HBO show.
MD:[Laughs.] Listen, this Deflategate thing is so frustrating. I saw the headline the other day that the NFL found no evidence of Peyton Manning using HGH, which made everybody happy. No one wants to hear that story. Then I thought to myself, They also found no evidence of Tom deflating footballs, and they're still making him sit out four games.
Hall of Fame inductee Mike Piazza noted that his new plaque in Cooperstown doesn't reflect all his old tonsorial choices. "The good thing is, in bronze you can't see the frosted tips," Piazza said. "They did put the goatee and the mullet on. It looks great." ... Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson told me that winning is not his top priority in Rio. "The reason we brought golf back to the Olympics was to get the world involved and try to grow the game," Watson said. "The gold medal is a bonus." ... All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, who signed in April with the Redskins, said he is sick of talking about his past battles with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.: "It's always something," Norman said. "The hype over it is unreal. It really is a nonstop epidemic. It's a giant casting a shadow wherever we walk."