Clippers All-Star Expresses Desire to Face Lionel Messi Days After Watching Jimmy Butler Taking On US Open Champ Carlos Alcaraz

Published 08/29/2023, 3:17 AM EDT

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The basketball world had an uncanny reason to tune into tennis action recently. While sports fans watched the 2023 U.S. Open for riveting matchups between tennis legends, basketball fans tuned in to witness Jimmy Butler take on the World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz. In a unbelievable series of events, the Miami Heat forward indeed matched up with the defending U.S. Open champion. Now, another NBA star has expressed his desire to play against the soccer legend, Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi set the soccer stage ablaze since his arrival in Inter Miami. Surprisingly, the World Cup winner was challenged by a determined opponent from an entirely different sporting world recently. Los Angeles Clippers‘ All-Star forward has expressed his desire to play against The Little Boy from Rosario following Jimmy Butler’s tennis endeavours.

Clippers All-Star wants to take on Lionel Messi


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The Los Angeles Clippers are not short on determined and gritty basketball players. Their All-Star swingman, Paul George is among the best of such athletes. Over 13 seasons in the NBA, George has established himself as a premier player in his position. Apart from his fabled NBA career however, PG13 also runs a fan-favorite podcast “Podcast P” where he took his competitiveness to a different level. He expressed his desire to play soccer against one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Lionel Messi.


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For the experience, I’d like to be the goalie against Messi.” said George. He added “I think I got chance like I take up damn near half the goal like if not three-quarters of the goal.

When asked how many of the Argentine legend’s shots he would block out of ten, PG13 answered “He made professional goalies look silly so I might not block any.” 

Paul George mentioned his desire to play as the goalkeeper against the World Cup winner, Lionel Messi. Given Lionel Messi’s exceptional skills in soccer, George may not have the best of odds saving his shots. Although for the experience, it may be something special. However, while Paul George can only dream of playing a different sport against its legend for now, Jimmy Butler has achieved this feat. Playing against the World No.1 tennis player, Butler has proved his versatility.

Jimmy Butler channels his inner Novak Djokovic

Jimmy Butler made heads turn when he took on the defending U.S. Open champion in his battleground. The 33-year-old has often displayed his extraordinary basketball heroics to fans but his tennis skills surprisingly are not too bad.

USA Today via Reuters

Butler and Alcaraz faced off in an exhibition match ahead of the highly-anticipated 2023 U.S. Open. The Heat forward teamed up with Colombian singer, Sebastian Yatra to make his attempt to beat the Spanish tennis phenom. And soon enough, Jimmy Buckets shocked the world. He channeled his inner Novak Djokovic who beat Alcaraz in their summit clash and scored a point against the World No.1. This sent the crowd into a frenzy who erupted in cheers after this incident.


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Butler did the unimaginable, scoring against a top-tier athlete in the tennis world. He did not win the game against Alcaraz, but seems like he inspired other NBA stars. Now, Paul George looks keen on having a similar interaction with soccer legend, Lionel Messi.


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Can the Clippers star fulfill his wishes? Do you think Paul George will take inspiration from Butler and save a goal against Lionel Messi? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Written by:

Sachit Kaundinya


One take at a time

Sachit is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for several years and is deeply passionate about the sport and it’s strategic aspects. Combining his passion and desire to stay connected with basketball, Sachit pursued a writing career.
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Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe