CHANHASSEN, Minn. — For the first time in two years, college basketball players are back dancing in the NCAA tournament. But the basketball highlight getting the most views in the past 24 hours, has nothing to do with Cinderella and everything to do with Prince.
A short, 25 second video of the iconic musician spinning a basketball on his finger and then casually draining a jump shot on stage during a tour in the late 1980’s, already has more than 3 million views on Twitter, after being posted by @freezp0p on Thursday.
KARE11 visited with Mitch Maguire, Legacy Preservationist at Paisley Park about the clip and how basketball is became a part of Prince’s legacy.
Kent Erdahl: "That was actually part of his tour, correct?"
Mitch Maguire: "It was. It was part of the Lovesexy Tour, which began in 1988 and finished in 1989. It was a very elaborate tour. There was a lot of production value involved in that one, including a basketball hoop that was on stage with Prince.”
Erdahl: "You have to be pretty talented at basketball to pull off, not only shooting something like that live in front of a crowd, but doing it in his famous platform shoes."
Maguire: "He was learning things about himself that, of course, women have known their whole life… how difficult that stuff is in heels. I mean, that's one of the incredible things about Prince in general, he was such a risk taker but clearly had the confidence about himself that he was just going to do it.”
And he pulled it off thanks to plenty of practice. Though there isn't a hoop at Paisley Park today (Prince removed it prior to his death in 2016), Maguire says he used one for several years, which he would move to various soundstages.
“For a period of time it was actually in the live music room, which now is a room dedicated to the Purple Rain era,” Maguire said. “In fact, he produced a music video for the song Daisy Chain, and you look at the end of that music video and you will actually see him play ball in that very room. At the end of the day, basketball for him served as an opportunity to kind of relax and unwind before going back to work in the studio or of course, on the road on tour."
Of course, Prince didn't just unwind by himself. A now famous Dave Chapelle comedy sketch immortalized a certain pick-up basketball game between Prince and celebrity Charlie Murphy.
"People that know about that Chapelle sketch, they certainly ask about it," Maguire said. "They want to know where it happened. It actually took place out in Los Angeles before Paisley was built, but it's a classic sketch and rooted in reality. You know, Prince was a great basketball player."
He was also a great fan of the game, especially when it came to Minnesota’s professional teams. In honor of their most high-profile fan, the Timberwolves unveiled special Prince themed jerseys in the years following his death. The entire Minnesota Lynx team also honored Prince with purple shoes throughout the 2016 WNBA playoffs. For the team, it was a way to repay the favor for an unforgettable night the year before.
Maguire: "He was at that Final Game 5 in 2015 when they took home the WNBA championship. As a result, he invited them and 150 of his closest friends back to Paisley later for a big party. He ended up taking the stage, probably around midnight, and played until about 4am.”
Erdahl: "Were pancakes served after he finished?"
Maguire: "Well, pancakes were, in fact, a real thing from time to time and it happened that night too. Yeah. Prince was an enigma and worked really hard at building that aura of mystique around his work and Paisley Park. We also know that he was constantly creating. Much of that creating went directly into the vault, and one of the great things for us is that, going forward, we can count on hearing more new Prince Music and video.”
Erdahl: “Does that include some unseen basketball highlights?”
Maguire: "I can tell you there is some basketball video out there, when it's going to be released, I have no idea. There should be some other fun stuff down the road for sure."