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Eddie Murphy Tells the Real Story of Playing Basketball at Prince's House

Eddie Murphy said Charlie Murphy's Chappelle's Show story was "accurate" — except for a couple details he shared with Jimmy Fallon. 

By Christopher Rudolph

Eddie Murphy is a comedy legend, but he recognizes when he's in the presence of celebrity royalty. And that was certainly the case when — as a story made famous by his late brother Charlie Murphy claimed — Prince challenged the Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F star to a game of basketball.

How to Watch

Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock

The Saturday Night Live alum recounted the "totally accurate" version of that surreal experience during a February 2021 Zoom interview with Jimmy Fallon. The topic came up when The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon couldn't resist asking the Oscar nominee about some of the superstars he's hung out with, including Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, and the High Priest of Pop: Prince.

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"We talked a little bit about Prince last time you were here, and he was on our show a bunch of times," Fallon told Murphy. "I always tell people, if they ask me about him, that he was actually funny."

Fallon asked Murphy to tell his side of the famous story about Prince challenging Murphy and his brother Charlie, who passed away in 2017, to a game of pickup basketball at the "Purple Rain" singer's house. The tale was originally reenacted in a 2004 "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories" segment on Chappelle's Show, with Dave Chappelle portraying Prince.

"That is totally and absolutely accurate," confirmed the comedian.

Split of Eddie Murphy and Prince

When Prince beat Eddie Murphy at a game of basketball

"We had on club clothes, and Prince had on that outfit that was in the 'Kiss' video, where he had the little short shirt and the leather jacket with the buttons and stuff," recalled Murphy. "He had that outfit on, and a little gold chain around his waist. A waistlet, I think. He had on a waistlet, and he was like, 'Yo, want to play some basketball?'"

"We was like, 'What the f---? You want to play some basketball?' It was like, 'Alright, let's play,'" Murphy continued. "It was Prince and some dude, a dude named Micki Free that used to hang out. They used to all wear their kind of Prince clothes. So my brother was like, 'Alright, it's gonna be shirts against blouses.'"

In the shirts vs blouses game, "the blouses won," Murphy attested. Though he has a theory as to why victory came so handily to Team Prince.

"They beat the s--- out of us! But you know what I think? We had one dude on our squad that could play named Larry, and he didn't have no shoes, so Prince gave him some sneakers, right?" Murphy continued.

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"And Prince wore maybe two, three sizes smaller than Larry, but Larry was so excited to have Prince's sneakers on," he said. "He put them tiny sneakers on his feet, so he couldn't do his game. He couldn't execute."

"So we lost. The one dude that could play. Prince's shoes had him shut down, so he couldn't execute," Murphy insisted as Fallon said, "That's genius."

"That's the genius move," Murphy agreed. Watch Murphy's interview above, and watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon weeknights at 11:35/10:35c on NBC, streaming next day on Peacock.