Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell know their way around the basketball court, but put them on the sand and it’s a very different story. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets stars swapped courts to learn how to play beach volleyball, and it was pretty hilarious.
U.S. National Volleyball player April Ross hosted the event, and when she asked the players if they have any experience playing volleyball, Towns gives an ‘ish.’
Cut to a clip where he says “I don’t have any beach volleyball experience.”
Towns is a trooper, though, and it helps that he’s as funny as he often appears on social media and in beef jerky commercials.
Towns and Russell have to play against professional beach volleyball players Geena Urango and Lauren Fendrick, who is on the U.S. National Beach Volleyball team.
Ross says the two will “look like baby deer on ice,” and that’s exactly what they look like. The Olympian didn’t get to play because she broke a toe when the spot was filmed, and it sounded like Ross was genuinely disappointed she couldn’t hit over the NBA stars.
“I would love to do nothing more than give Karl and D’Angelo a beatdown,” Ross said.
The commercial is a strong argument for cross-discipline training in sports to help avoid extreme embarrassment when you’re asked to play something outside of your comfort zone. Towns hoped his footwork could help him on the court, and Russell called him an “athlete,” which is a nice way of an athlete to say someone can play more than one sport.
But the NBA stars were no match for volleyball pros. There was lots of diving into the sand that ended in unsuccessful digs.
“We’ve trained for every single aspect of our career basketball-wise,” Russell said. “But being out here is completely different.”
Team USA basketball players showed their appreciation for beach volleyball at the last Olympics in Rio, showing up for many of the U.S. matches.
It seems unlikely KAT or Russell abandon the NBA for the beach anytime soon, but it is comforting to see professionals struggle at something others clearly excel at. Maybe athletes are just like us.