Issue 5: Basketball on TV — Parks and Rec

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More than two years ago, I started a podcast called Parks n Wrecked. As you can perhaps tell by the name, we watch the show Parks and Recreation with someone from the parks and rec department, all while getting parks n wrecked with a featured beverage.

Just by that description alone, you see how it’s a good time. But a hidden surprise to revisiting Parks and Rec is all the fabulous guest stars that come on the show.

For basketball fans, that means a surprising amount of cameos. Let’s see who made the strongest impression on Pawnee.

Detlef Schrempf

Detlef Schrempf first made an appearance on the season two episode “Telethon.” Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is hosting a telethon for diabetes research and the staff wanted a guest on the show.

Co-creator Michael Schur’s first choice was Larry Bird. But because Larry Legend “didn’t seem like the kind of dude who would do a cameo on a relatively new TV show,” other NBA players were considered.

Eventually, the show decided on Schrempf, who spent five seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Schrempf gets hired by Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Jean-Realphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz) for their new company, Entertainment 720. As their commercial suggests, they clearly have a great focus of what they do.

Schrempf appeared in three episodes of the show. You can also find him on season three’s “Li’l Sebastian” and season four’s “Ron and Tammys.”

Don’t feel too bad for Larry Bird for missing out, though. He does make regular appearances as a framed picture in Leslie’s office.

Roy Hibbert

While Schrempf was tapped by the show’s producers, Roy Hibbert reached out proactively. He was already playing for the Pacers, and his wife told him then-Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose was making a cameo on the CBS show The Good Wife.

Well, the Bulls and the Pacers have a storied history, and Hibbert could not let that stand. He thought about what show he could be on, and all he had to do was look down the street to fictitious Pawnee, Ind.

He even scored some screentime with Schrempf in the “Ron and Tammys” episode (a combined 14 feet of NBA players!). And Hibbert realized putting together a TV show is hard work.

“It was just eye-opening, what goes into making a TV show,” Hibbert said. “I think I was in like three scenes or something like that, but I feel like it took damn-near three hours to film each scene.”

Hibbert also made appearances in three episodes. He returned later in season four for “End of the World” (while handing out shrimp) and joined my personal favorite episode (season five’s “Two Parties”) with a young, starstruck Miles Plumlee.

Hibbert was also hired by Tom Haverford — how did that turn out?

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh only makes a single cameo in the show, but it’s still a great one. We’re led to believe two things:

  1. Chris Bosh is a member of the Eagleton High School basketball team.
  2. He’s a serviceable French horn player.

While the jury is still out on Bosh’s brass skills, he was 29 when this episode aired. Unless he flunked a LOT of classes, someone’s pulling our leg.

Perhaps just as great as this scene is Aubrey Plaza’s failed prank on Bosh, which she called “the saddest moment of my life.”

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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