"Curb Your Enthusiasm" is ending its hiatus. Fans of the show got good news Tuesday when Variety reported that Larry David's hit comedy will be returning to HBO for its ninth season this year.
"Curb" had an absolutely dominant run from 2000 to 2011, securing 38 Emmy nominations and the 2002 Golden Globe Award for the Best Musical or Comedy Television Series. During the course of its 80 episodes – the most of any HBO comedy or drama series of all time, according to Variety – the show has become renowned for its use of celebrity cameos, and the sports world has certainly seen its fair share:
The Season 2 episode, simply called "Shaq," aired in fall 2001, while the Lakers were in the midst of their three-peat. In this episode, Larry David ends up incidentally tripping O'Neal while sitting in the front row at Staples Center. This results in a serious knee injury for O'Neal – a situation parallel to Shaq's real-life toe injury that caused him to miss 15 games during the 2001-02 season. In the episode, Shaq is initially hesitant to forgive David, But when it's revealed that O'Neal is a massive Seinfeld fan – citing "The Contest" as his favorite episode – David arrives at the hospital with a set of Seinfeld tapes for Shaq, and all is forgiven.
Bogues' appearance on the show was, like himself, relatively short, but it still was memorable for its raciness. In the Season 4 episode "The Surrogate," David is forced to take a physical while auditioning for a role in a play called "The Producers,' where he comes across a striking nurse named Renee, the new girlfriend of David's friend Richard Lewis.
Lewis is nervous that Renee, being black, is strictly accustomed to being with very well-endowed black men. Citing the word of another nurse, David tries to re-assure Lewis that this is a myth and there is no difference. But then David and Lewis encounter Bogues in a men's room. Despite being 5-3, Bogues meets Richard's expectations and then some.
Player arguably wasn't the biggest celebrity cameo in the Season 5 episode "The Smoking Jacket," in fall 2005 as he was joined by the world’s most famous playboy, Hugh Hefner. In the episode, David is hesitant to visit the Playboy Mansion with his friend Jeff because his wife is already angry at him. Jeff argues that David's wife won't get any angrier than she already is at him – the "double transgression theory." But before David can unwind too much at the mansion, a controversy develops when he and Hefner both have eerily similar looking smoking jackets. Hefner wears David's jacket and determines it's a knockoff. But Hefner then excuses himself to the men's room while still wearing the jacket. Hefner returns it after stepping out of the bathroom, but David now considers the jacket to be "contaminated." David then furtively makes a switch before leaving, leading to comedic confusion. Player gets into the story line as David's wife gives Larry a birthday gift of lunch and 18 holes of golf with the three-time Masters champion. David shows up for the get-together with a green jacket of his own, and you can guess what happens next.
Like Player, McEnroe only appears briefly near the end of an episode, but still found time to provide a few laughs. In the Season 6 episode "The Freak Book," David attends the birthday party of his friend Ted Danson, but soon feels guilty that his chauffeur is forced to wait outside while the partygoers enjoy themselves. David invites the chauffeur inside and ends up driving the limo himself. After the chauffeur parties too hard, David covers for him the next day and picks up McEnroe at the airport. McEnroe is subjected to a series of ridiculous questions including sex, religion and gardening. A side trip to a cemetery en route to the Paul McCartney concert only complicates the situation.
Mookie Wilson and Bill Buckner
The penultimate episode of the most recent season gave us a double treat, with two MLB retirees holding significant roles. Premiering in the fall of 2011, Season 8's episode "Mister Softee" starts with Susie Greene asking Larry to get Wilson to sign a baseball at a convention as birthday gift for her husband, Jeff. But before David can get to that, he costs his adult baseball team its league championship when he hears a song from a "Mister Softee" ice cream truck, triggering a painful childhood memory and forcing him to make a Bill Buckner-esque error on a ground ball.
When a distraught David does get to the convention to secure the autograph, he also happens to run into Buckner himself, who offers advice on how to cope with such an egregious error. Grateful, David invites Buckner to Jeff's apartment – and when David displays the autographed ball, he tosses it to Buckner, who promptly makes another flub to result in the ball falling out of the window and away from the eager Jeff. Fortunately, Buckner does finally get a shot at redemption – when Larry and Susie arrive to her cousin's house fire, Buckner catches a baby thrown out of a window of the burning house, resulting in himself finally becoming a hero.