A few months ago, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry was having a conversation with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"I want play in the celebrity game over All-Star Weekend," said Lasry, who bought the Bucks with some partners in 2014.
"But you're not a celebrity," Silver retorted.
"OK," Lasry responded, "but I still want to do it."
And so, on Friday night, Lasry will get his wish and suit up for Team USA for the annual celebrity game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Toronto. Last year, Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera played in the exhibition and impressed, making 5 of 6 shots and even throwing down a dunk in warm-ups. Pera, though, was 36 at the time. Lasry is 55.
Pera is also very dedicated to basketball, having an indoor replica of the Grizzlies floor installed at a gym attached to his house. Lasry plays tennis three times a week but only plays pick-up basketball once a month or so.
It would make sense if Lasry, knowing he's preparing to play on national television against players 20 to 30 younger, some of whom are former pros, was in some sort of training regimen or had hired a special coach. But he insists that is not the case.
"I wish I was playing rope-a-dope, but it's not even close," Lasry said. "I emailed Chauncey [Billups, who will be a teammate], and I told him he's got to get me the ball. My view is they'll give me plenty of shots."
Spoken like a man worth an estimated $1.9 billion.
Other players on Lasry's team include actors Michael B. Jordan, Anthony Anderson and Jason Sudeikis, former NBA guard Muggsy Bogues and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne. The opposing team, Team Canada, includes former players Tracy McGrady and Rick Fox and Blue Jays star Jose Bautista. The team will be "coached" by Drake.
Lasry has a modest basketball resume. After playing in high school in Connecticut, he did play collegiately at Clark University in Massachusetts -- at least for a little while.
"Well, I was a Division III shooting guard, and I just played for one year, but my intramural team won the championship," Lasry said. "Honestly, I've watched these games, and Kevin Hart has won the MVP four times.
"So how hard can it be?"
Hart, who retired from the celebrity game last year, will serve as Lasry's coach.
Lasry has played some with Bucks players, mostly shooting around or playing H-O-R-S-E (he admits none of them have dared to play defense against him). While he's worried about performing in front of so many people, he said he was encouraged by successfully throwing out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game after his group purchased the Bucks.
"I think it will be fun, my family is going to fly in to see it, and Khris Middleton will be taking part in the 3-point contest, so he may be there," Lasry said. "I just hope no one blocks my shot into the fifth row.
"Hopefully it won't be massively embarrassing."