A Ping Pong Match Between Prince and Jimmy Fallon Shows a Side to Prince Unknown
Prince wasn’t only an iconic musician. He was also a competitive ping pong player, who’d challenge anyone at any time to a match—even on the day your new baby is born, according to Jimmy Fallon.
On the April 25 airing of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Fallon recalled the moment he was challenged to a ping pong match by Prince on July 23, 2013, at Susan Sarandon’s New York City ping pong bar, SPiN—the day Fallon welcomed daughter Winnie into the world.
Fallon declined the offer, but met with the musician the following day when he received a text during dinner that read: “He wants to play right now,” which Fallon obliged to.
The pair met up at SPiN, where Prince stood behind a curtain in a double breasted blue velvet suit—more suitable for a concert than a match of ping pong—holding a ping pong paddle, questioned: “You’re ready to do this?”
After Fallon warmed up, the match began with Prince serving a fast ball that zoomed past the talk show host. “One-zip,” said Prince.
The competitive nature spills out of Fallon though he admits he isn’t great at ping pong.
Fallon recalled the final moment of the game.
“It’s 20-10 or something, it’s his serve, and he goes, ‘Game point,'” Fallon said. “I go, ‘Here we go, man.’ He hits this ball, and it’s in slow motion. It’s turning, I can see it turning, flames are coming off it, it hits the edge of the table at that perfect part where it’s unhittable, it goes flying but he scores the point. It hits the edge of the table, he wins the game. The ball goes flying, I go back to get the ball, I’m looking for it, I get the ball … and he’s gone.”
Prince is nowhere to be found until The Roots leader Questlove, from Fallon’s in-house band, found Prince in his car at the stoplight.
“I run up to the car and Grey Poupon style, the window rolls down,” Questlove said. “I said, ‘What happened? What happened?’ He said, ‘Ask your boy.'”
Watch Fallon recall the story above.