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While LeBron James and Stephen Curry are trying to lead their respective teams to the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, another battle has been quietly playing out in cross-promotional ads for the NBA Finals and Pixels the movie.

Pelicans center Anthony Davis has been going one-on-one with classic arcade-game characters including Pac Man, Centipede and the baddest-of-the-all apes Donkey Kong. In the ad, Davis isn’t impressed with Kong’s barrel tossing and topples him with a well-aimed basketball throw to the solar plexus. Notably, damsel-in-distress Pauline is absent from the clip.


Donkey Kong was Nintendo’s first hit arcade game and was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981 to replace the poorly received Radar Scope. The game’s protagonist, a carpenter known as Jumpman, would later became the inspiration for Mario — Nintendo’s long-running plumper character. The game’s name itself, shared with the antagonist, was meant to invoke a stubborn (as in a donkey), oversized ape (as in King Kong).

Hey! I know that monkey, and his names Donkey! #DonkeyKong #Nintendo #NintendoWorldStore

A photo posted by CaptainRGS (@captainrgs) on


Long before Davis entered the fray against Donkey Kong, gamers like Shaun Boyd were putting in hours a day keeping Nintendo’s petulant primate at bay.

Hardcore Donkey Kong enthusiasts were first made popular in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which chronicled Steve Wiebe’s quest to wrest the world high score from Billy Mitchell. Famed rapper Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) was so inspired by the film he began practicing the arcade game in earnest and posted a high score of 465,800.

The current world record Donkey Kong score of 1,144,800 was set on December 1, 2014 by a relative newcomer to the community, Robbie Lakeman.