After a tough defeat in the NBA All-Star celebrity basketball game in Houston over the weekend, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt spoke with ABC News’ John Schriffen about the star-studded game, playing a team sport, and his busy schedule since becoming a reigning Olympic champion and global sensation.
Bolt joined the East team in the basketball game held at Houston’s Sprint Arena on Friday, where he played alongside TV personality Nick Cannon and singer Ne-Yo, among others. The East took on the West, which included Schriffen, rapper Common and comic Kevin Hart, but lost the game 58-38.
“You guys were playing hard. We had full court pressure. It was fun, though,” Bolt told Schriffen after the game. “I was ready but I came out here to have a little fun. I came out here and you guys were all business. I was like, wow this is serious.”
Bolt captured the world’s attention at the London 2012 Olympics, where he won the 100 meters gold medal with a time of 9.63 seconds, setting a new Olympic record. In London he also became the first man in history to defend both the 100 meter and 200 meter Olympic sprint titles. But sprinting isn’t exactly like a team sport like basketball.
“It’s much different,” he said. “You’ve got to trust your teammates. They’ve got to make passes and stuff like that, so it was a bit different, but it was fun.”
Though Bolt scored two points during Saturday’s game from a slam dunk, he acknowledged that his basketball skills are somewhat lacking. But who has time to hone skills on the court when spending so much time on the track?
“It’s been busy. We try to cut it down as much as possible. It’s been hectic but now that we’re getting back in training full time so it slowed down so it’s been good now,” Bolt told Schriffen.
Next Bolt has several meets, and the 2013 World Championships in Athletics in Russia in August. In the meantime, however, he may have to deal with the fallout from Saturday night’s loss.
“I know I’m going to get cussed out when I go home,” he said. “I got a lot of texts on my phone. I’m slightly worried.”