On September 22, 2020, Desus & Mero will release their book God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons From the Bronx, which takes readers deep into the insights the pair has gleaned over years of friendship and shared experience. Some of those insights involve sports. You know the hosts from their late-night Showtime show, Desus & Mero, and from their podcast, Bodega Boys, and you also know them from their unapologetic displays of New York sports fandom. In an exclusive excerpt from the “On Sports” chapter of God-Level Knowledge Darts, Desus & Mero recount their favorite sports moments—and share why those memories have proved so lasting.
Mero: I HAVE TWO FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENTS. THE FIRST WAS A SERIES OF MOMENTS AND THE OTHER IS A SINGULAR MOMENT. BOTH WERE IN THE ’90S BECAUSE I JUST MADE THE CUTOFF FOR BEING A … MILLENNIAAAAALLLLL.
*PLAYS THAT ROBBIE WILLIAMS SONG*
THE FIRST WAS THE ’96 YANKEES WORLD SERIES, BECAUSE I VIVIDLY REMEMBER THAT TURNING ME FROM A CASUAL YANKEES FAN INTO A “27 RINGS, BRO!!” YANKEES FAN. THEY HADN’T WON SHIT IN YEARS AND GENERALLY WERE NOT GOOD. 1996 WAS DEREK JETER’S ROOKIE YEAR, AND THAT MUTHAFUCKA WAS CAPTIVATING. HE WAS THE COOLEST BASEBALL PLAYER I HAD SEEN SINCE KEN GRIFFEY JR. BEING COOL IS HARD TO DO AS A YANKEE BECAUSE THEY MAKE YOU SHAVE, YOUR NAME ISN’T ON THE JERSEY, AND TYPICALLY “THE YANKEES” ARE BIGGER THAN “THE PLAYER.” BUT JEETS WAS SPECIAL. MY MAN HAD THIS ENIGMATIC SWAG THAT HE STILL CARRIES TO THIS DAY EVEN THOUGH HE NOW LOOKS LIKE A DIABETIC UNCLE. GREATEST YANKEE OF ALL TIME, YEAH I SAID IT, DON’T EVER DISRESPECT THE BEAUTIFUL BIRACIAL ANGEL THAT IS “THE CAPTAIN.”
THE YANKEES LOST THE FIRST TWO GAMES AT HOME TO THE BRAVES, AND I STILL REMEMBER TURNING MY TV OFF AFTER THE FINAL OUT OF GAME 2 LIKE, “FUCK. THE BRAVES ARE REALLY GOOD.” HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 THOUGH, BECAUSE I WATCH VIDEO OF THOSE FIRST TWO GAMES NOW AND IT’S LIKE THAT WAYANS BROS MOVIE WHERE MARLON DIES AND BECOMES A GHOST WHO HELPS HIS TEAM WIN OR SOME SHIT LIKE THAT. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU TURN THAT PREMISE INTO A 90-MINUTE FEATURE FILM, BUT THEY DID THAT SHIT. ANDY PETTITTE THE YOUNG ACE GETS FUCKIN’ INEXPLICABLY CREMATED IN THE FIRST GAME, WADE BOGGS’S THIGH GETS IMPALED BY A BROKEN BAT WHILE MAKING A THROW TO FIRST THAT LED TO THE RUNNER BEING SAFE. DARRYL STRAWBERRY HADN’T FOUND GOD YET AND WAS THROWING THE BALL TO HOME PLATE WITH THE ACCURACY OF THE 2008 RAMBO REBOOT FINAL SCENE WHERE HE’S JUST BUCKING WILD SHOTS ALL BRAZY ON THE BACK OF THE PICKUP TRUCK WITH THE .50- CAL. MARIANO DUNCAN, ONE OF MY FAVORITE YANKEES OF ALL TIME, BOOTED A DOUBLE-PLAY BALL AND WAS GENERALLY WACK. I TOTALLY FORGOT TIM RAINES GOT HIT IN THE BALLS BY JAVY LÓPEZ’S CATCHER’S MASK WHEN LÓPEZ WENT TO CATCH A POP FOUL. SO YEAH, THE YANKEES GET SMOKED AT HOME IN GAME 1. IT WASN’T JUST BECAUSE THE BRAVES WERE SUPER TALENTED OFFENSIVELY, THE YANKEES WERE JUST STINKIN’ UP THE JOINT OD. GAME 2, SAME SHIT.
THEN THEY GO DOWN TO ATLANTA AND I’M WATCHING LIKE, “DAMN. IF THEY LOSE THIS GAME IN ATLANTA, IT’S A FUCKIN’ WRAP.” BUT THEY DIDN’T. DAVID CONE PITCHED A FUCKIN’ GEM AND BERNIE WILLIAMS WASN’T PLAYING PUERTO RICAN JAZZ GUITAR FULL TIME YET BUT HE WAS HITTING LIKE HE WAS USING ONE AS A BAT. OD CLUTCH. YANKEES CRACKED THE SHIT OPEN IN ATLANTA AND I KNEW AFTER GAME 5 THE YANKEES WERE GONNA WIN THE WORLD SERIES. IT WAS LIKE A FUCKIN’ OVERSCRIPTED MOVIE, IT WAS SO HAM-FISTED. I REMEMBER SITTING DOWN FOR GAME 6 WITH A BAG OF DORITOS I HAD GOTTEN FROM THE BODEGA AND A TROPICAL FANTASY ORANGE SODA. I’LL NEVER FORGET THE AIR, THE SOUNDS, EVERYTHING FROM THAT NIGHT. IT FEELS WILD CORNY SAYING IT OUT LOUD, BUT MY DAD HAD GONE TO BED EARLY BECAUSE HE HAD TO WORK EARLY. I WAS ALONE IN MY LIVING ROOM WATCHING ON A 27″ ZENITH (BELIEVE IT) WHEN CHARLIE HAYES CAUGHT THAT POP-UP, HEARING “THE YANKEES ARE CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL!” AND WATCHING THE DOGPILE ON THE PITCHER’S MOUND. WADE BOGGS RIDING A FUCKING HORSE AROUND THE STADIUM. THE HORNS HONKING OUTSIDE THE MOMENT CHARLIE SECURED THE BALL, GUNSHOTS, ALL THAT SHIT. IT WAS PURE HAPPINESS FOR A LITTLE KID FROM THE BRONX.
Desus: I’m about to tell you the tale of my favorite sports moment and I ask you to bear with me because I’m probably going to tear up while writing it.
Now … key to this story is the date: February 2, 2009. I attended a Knicks game with my older sister. It was the Knicks vs. the Lakers and I remember a scalper offering us $200 for each ticket, which we seriously considered as we stood there. However, because we’re Knicks fans (till death!), we went into the game.
BUT. That night, one Kobe Bean Bryant (RIP) turned my beloved MSG into a literal hell. The night started with the crowd cheering for the Lakers during the opening players announcement. And there was nothing weird about that because it’s the Lakers and they have lots of fans in NYC, and also the Knicks stunk that season (they finished 32-50). But the first warning sign that the night was going to suck was the crowd chanting “MVP” anytime Kobe touched the ball. We real Knicks fans booed, but every time Kobe hit a shot the chants got louder.
Kobe must have heard those chants because he WENT OFF. I sat there in a Latrell Sprewell jersey and watched as Kobe dropped 61 points on my beloved Knickerbockers. 61 POINTS. He hit threes, smashed wild dunks, he even hit a couple of half-court shots because why the fuck not. It was devastating. We watched as he set the Madison Square Garden record for the most points scored. I saw it in person and will always remember that night. It’s the most disrespected I’ve ever felt as a Knicks fan, which is saying a lot. It was also an honor and a blessing to see Kobe do this. RIP to the GOAT.
So fast-forward to the good night of January 24, 2014. Times had changed and, shouts to my homegirl Jean, I had damn near floor seats. Literally sitting close enough to the court where the players could hear everything I yelled. We had pregamed a little so I had a little buzz going as I got to the seats, but I knew the feeling I was feeling wasn’t just that buzz … this night was going to be special. I was amped because the Knicks were playing the Bobcats and I’d get to see my boy (not really my boy, I hadn’t met him yet) Kemba Walker from the BX drop some points at the same arena where he’d once led UConn to victory in the NCAA.
Anyway, they announced Kemba wouldn’t be playing that night so I was bummed, but going to Knicks games is one of my life’s greatest joys, so I was going to have a great time regardless. No Kobes in sight.
Knicks legend CARMELO ANTHONY DA GAWD must’ve agreed it was gonna be a good night because he launched his first shot, boom, sinks it. Then his next shot. Then another. I stood up and said, “HE’S GOING FOR THE SCORING RECORD!” I felt it. Tonight was the night.
Melo went off. Hitting threes, set shots, everything. With each shot I stood up and yelled louder and louder. Eventually the usher came over and told me to calm down or I’d be thrown out (shout-out to Keith, he’s the usher, and I’ve been coming to so many games that he knows me by now and he’s extremely excited that I’m on TV). I calmed down so as not to be removed from the Mecca.
Melo knew he had to drop at least 61 to tie the record, but Melo said eff that. My man dropped 62 points and the Garden absolutely exploded. And the worst part is they immediately took him out. Melo and I and every other Knicks fan knew that he should’ve run his points up to like 85 to assure that no non-Knick would ever break it. But that night was amazing. The Knicks felt like winners. We all had that moment. Sadly, that would go down as Melo’s greatest Knicks moment. But I was there and that night lives in me forever.
I left the Garden all woozy and went back to my crib and made sweet, sweet record-breaking love to my then-girlfriend. And to pay homage to Melo I wore a compression sleeve and head band while doing so.
Maybe. I can’t remember if that last part happened or if it just seems like it should have.
Mero: MY OTHER FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENT WAS WILD BECAUSE IT LITERALLY WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. THE ’98-’99 KNICKS WERE AN 8-SEED GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS. THEY KNOCKED OFF 1-SEED MIAMI EN ROUTE TO THE FINALS WHERE THEY GOT FUCKIN’ ANNIHILATED BY THE SPURS. BUT THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS CONTAINED ONE MOMENT I WILL REMEMBER FOREVER: LARRY JOHNSON’S 4-PT PLAY TO GIVE THE KNICKS A 1-POINT LEAD AGAINST THE HOE-ASS PACERS. I LOVED THAT KNICKS TEAM AND FELT TERRIBLE FOR PAT EWING BECAUSE HE WAS ON THE BENCH IN A VERY ’90S SUIT. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO INTENSELY FOCUSED ON THE LAST MINUTE OF A BASKETBALL GAME IN MY LIFE. I WAS WATCHING THE SHIT OUT OF IT. WHEN LARRY HIT THAT 3 AND I HEARD THE WHISTLE BLOW AND THE ARENA EXPLODE LIKE SPAGHETTI SAUCE IN A MICROWAVE, I LITERALLY LEAPED OFF MY PARENTS’ BED (THEY HAD THE CABLE BOX IN THEIR ROOM AT THAT TIME), HIT MY HEAD ON THE CEILING, AND BIT MY TONGUE, BUT ASK ME IF I GAVE A SHIT? I DID NOT. THE KNICKS HAD DONE THE IMPOSSIBLE. I THINK I BOOSTED A LARRY JOHNSON REPLICA JERSEY AT MODELL’S THE NEXT DAY OR SOME SHIT. *THROWS L UP* I’M SERIOUS, LOOK THIS SHIT UP ON YOUTUBE, IT’S ELECTRIC. EVERYBODY REMEMBERS LARRY FROM THE HORNETS BUT LJ IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE KNICKS OF ALL TIME, BECAUSE OF THIS PLAY AND BECAUSE HE HAD A GOLD TOOTH.
Excerpted from the “On Sports” chapter of God-Level Knowledge Darts: Life Lessons From the Bronx, by Desus & Mero. Copyright © 2020. Published by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.