It's rare that a two-on-two basketball game breaks out in the middle of TODAY, but that's what happened this morning when Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson, the stars of the new movie Semi-Pro, took on Meredith Vieira and New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson.
NBA referee Bennett Salvatore tried to keep things clean, and Bob Costas of NBC and HBO Sports returned to his ABA roots to call the action.
The game was an ugly affair, as the players threw elbows, talked trash and got in each other's faces (with few made baskets). It may have set basketball back decades, but at least the TODAY team won. WATCH VIDEO
After the game, I tracked down Meredith in the locker room to discuss her team's win:
DF: What's your reaction to pulling out this hard-fought victory here today?
Meredith: Well, I didn't think they were that good, to be honest with you. All the practice they've gone through for this Semi-Pro. They are very much on the "semi-" side of pro.
No, it was fun! They're big guys, and you start to realize that everyone in their core is really competitive. It started out just being fun, then it got ugly. When Will Ferrell threw those balls, he meant it.
DF: So you thought there was some poor sportsmanship out there?
Meredith: I thought there was a lot of poor sportsmanship, yes!
DF: Including from you?
Meredith: Well, maybe Nate did a little at the end. I did at the end, too. I feigned an injury and laid down on the court. I was trying to bring back that moment on the ice. Because in that moment on the ice, Will really changed and became very sympathetic. But he just walked right over me this time.
DF: So you have no respect at all for your opponents or the way they went about things?
Meredith: You know what? I'm going to be big. We won, didn't we?
Meredith: So yes, I did have a lot of respect for them. How did Hillary Clinton put it at the end of her last debate with Barack Obama?
DF: She said she was "honored" to be competing against him.
Meredith: Yes, I was honored to play with them.
DF: Were you happy with how you played? You hit that free throw at the end of the game--
Meredith: Well, I finally made it, yeah. They kept this piece going until I put something in. You know, something's happened to me. I used to be a rover when I was in high school. I used to be good at sports, and I'm just not anymore. But I almost got it in a few times, if you noticed.
DF: It didn't seem to bother you or impede your play at all that your jersey was on backwards.
Meredith: I had no idea. All I know is that they had to cut it, because it didn't fit properly. That's the humiliating part. Wherever the name was, I really didn't care.
DF: How about the work of Bob Costas, calling the game? Could you hear him?
Meredith: I couldn't hear him, but others have told me that he was a genius. In fact, he said that to me as he was leaving.
DF: Will there be a rematch?
Meredith: If they're up to it, I'm up to it. Absolutely.