Basketball in Seinfeld *Bass Riff Ensues*

The insanely popular show Seinfeld hit Netflix on October 1. Despite seeing every episode at least a half-dozen times, I had never watched the series in order, from beginning to end.

Well, I quickly changed that. Within a couple of months, I had officially knocked out all nine seasons. I am not proud of this fact, but it helped me identify a handful of jokes that are actually callbacks to previous episodes. Who said sitcoms can’t have continuity?!

Basketball is not the most popular sport in the Seinfeld universe. There are far more baseball cameos, particularly after George scores a job with the New York Yankees. There’s even an episode that revolves around going to the Super Bowl.

Yet despite this lack of opportunity, we still get a few fun hoops moments throughout the series. Here we go with basketball in Seinfeld!

Jimmy’s Training Shoes

Perhaps the most basketball-centric episode of the show, “The Jimmy” (S6, E19) features a guy (Jimmy) who consistently refers to himself in the third person.

Jimmy sells ridiculous-looking training shoes that help with jumping and muscle-strengthening. Through a series of mishaps, George is eventually the one who has to demonstrate how the shoes work. As you might expect, it goes very poorly.

Prior to everything going downhill, we get to see Jimmy at his most confident. He tells George he used to be like him (what an insult!) before using the training shoes. And we actually see a basketball, wow!

One of the top comments on this video says, “These 2 minutes had more complex conversations than most sitcoms today have in a whole season.”

And that comment is not wrong. The bit where George says his shower “wouldn’t take” is all too real. I’ve lived in hot climates for basically all of my adult life. The number of times I’ve showered, then immediately stepped out into the world and began sweating is ALARMING.

George is a Chucker

One of the most memorable cameos in the show comes during Season 3, Episodes 17 and 18, “The Boyfriend” (it’s a two-part episode). Former New York Mets player Keith Hernandez befriends Jerry and dates Elaine. Shenanigans ensue.

Before any of that happens, though, we drop into a locker room scene, where Jerry, Kramer, and George have just finished playing basketball.

Both Jerry and Kramer alert George to the fact that he’s a chucker. The clip explains why it’s such a bad thing, but alas, it cuts off before my favorite part of this conversation.

Hernandez, who’s also in the locker room, spots Jerry and they sing each other’s praises. George, feeling left out, asks Hernandez a baffling question about why more team airplanes don’t crash into each other during the course of the season. Eventually, Hernandez gets so exasperated he simply asks, “who’s this chucker?”

I’ve used the phrase “who’s this chucker?” many, many times over the years. And I have this episode to thank for that. Go ahead and try it next time someone unwelcome tries to join into your conversation.

Kramer Gets in a Fight with Reggie Miller

By seasons 8 and 9, the quality of Seinfeld takes a dip. Larry David had left the show, and the remaining crew really explored some absurd, out-there humor. Sometimes it worked—Festivus is still a magical holiday, for instance—other times it falls short.

I would argue “The Susie” (S8, E15) falls into the latter category. The plots are pretty stupid. Elaine’s coworker thinks her name is Susie, so she keeps calling her that. Kramer stops doing Daylight Savings Time. I don’t even remember what George gets up to, but it’s probably dumb.

We do get some basketball, though, courtesy of Kramer making a bet on Jerry’s behalf on the Knicks and Pacers game. The Knicks have to win by at least 35 for Jerry to win, which seems far-fetched until Kramer gets involved.

As he explains, he got so upset during the game that he threw a hot dog at Reggie Miller. I’ve never thrown concessions at a player and have no plans to, but I imagine a hot dog would be simultaneously among the least painful and most offensive things you can throw.

With Miller out of the game, the Knicks win easily, and Jerry’s bet cashes. Granted, his bookie can’t pay him, but that’s a story for another day.

As a bonus, enjoy this song from Your Old Droog called “Basketball & Seinfeld.” It’s a banger with many a clever lyric. Plus it features that sweet, sweet bass riff Jonathan Wolff made so popular.