Play-by-play breakdown: Karlie Samuelson’s performance on Ryan’s Mystery Playdate


Breaking down the best 2-on-2 game you’ll ever see

Some background: Ryan’s Mystery Play Date is a show on Nick Jr. that was born out of the YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview, where a kid named Ryan reviews toys. The show takes it a level further and has him play with a whole bunch of cool guests. So far on this show, Ryan has played with Tony Hawk, a magician, a pizza tosser, an aspiring astronaut, and more.

Now, in walks Karlie Samuelson. Or, as Ryan exclaims, “KARLIE SAMUELSON THE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER!”

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We’re excited too, Ryan.

Karlie joined the show and teamed up with Ryan for a 2-on-2 game against Ryan’s parents. I’d be doing a disservice to High Post Hoops and basketball fans as a whole if I did anything but dissect every second of the teaser that Karlie shared Wednesday morning.

We start off simple, as Karlie shows up in some magical Stewie Griffin-esque teleportation device (real RMPDheads can fill me in on the proper name) and she shakes Ryan’s hand.

Ryan then says, “since you’re a professional basketball player, you must be really, really good.”

Karlie feigns modesty by saying “I think I’m OK,” then tries to absolutely humiliate Ryan with a devastating crossover. But Ryan’s a smart kid. He’s not going to let that happen. He immediately steps aside and lets KARLIE SAMUELSON THE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER showboat on her own.

Savvy move, kid. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you and don’t need to go through it all on broken ankles.

Karlie suggests playing a game, but doesn’t see any hoops. Ryan, a resourceful kid, suggests using trash cans — something everybody who has ever lived has used as a hoop at some point in their lives.

The matchup is obvious: Kids (defined as anyone 24 or younger) vs. adults (Mr. and Mrs. Ryan’s parents). Or, for the purposes of the show, the Dunkin’ Pirates vs. the Parrot All-Stars. Winner gets the Flint Tropics in the next round.

Leave it to the adults, as always, to try and cheat to save themselves the humiliation of losing on national TV. Ryan’s mom swoops in with a Very Official Rule She Just Made Up and forces Karlie to wear a hook and eye patch — you know, those classic additions to basketball uniforms.

This is appalling and I will be filing an official complaint to the Nick Jr. Basketball League (NJBL). But Karlie is unfazed, telling the parents, “I have a pretty mean hook shot.”

[crowd roars with laughter]

We then cut to Gus the Alligator and, uh, a panda bear (?) for their analysis. Ryan Ruocco and Rebecca Lobo are great at their jobs, but if ESPN is ever looking for more talent…

The game starts off with some controversy. Not on the show itself, but in the living rooms of all basketball fans who just wanted to watch a fair matchup. Mom gets a great look here and appears ready to give the Parrots a 1-0 lead. BUT IN COMES RYAN WITH THE MONSTER BLOCK!

Or is it? You may have to watch the below GIF a few times, but it APPEARS that the ball was on the way down when Ryan made contact. Do we have a goaltend here? Quite possibly. You be the judge.

On the next play, Karlie puts the Pirates ahead with a dunk off a nice feed from Ryan. But in doing so, she reveals a glaring flaw in her game: the inability to use her left…hook. As a result, she probably got away with a carry here. Come on, Karlie. They teach you to dribble with both hooks in 5th grade pirate travel basketball.

The Parrots evened up the score a second later on a smooth jumper from Dad, then it was Ryan’s turn to shine. Karlie found him with a sharp pass over the double team and Ryan converted.

We’re all on Karlie and Ryan’s side here. I get that. But you have to give credit where it’s due. Check out the arc on this jumper from Mom as she shows off her range and buries one right over Karlie’s head. Sign. Her. Up.

Back to Gus and Carl (I named him Carl) for more analysis.

Gus: I don’t know, but I’m on the edge of my tail!

The final play deserves to be fully dissected because there’s a lot going on. First, Ryan stops to tell us “next point wins!” before handing it back over to our favorite broadcast team, where we get some honest-to-goodness play-by-play.

“Karlie has the ball.”



Broadcast voices of the future, take note. It’s simple, yet enthusiastic. It tells what’s going on without overdoing it. The perfect blend.

The play itself was great too, as Karlie showed off her one-eyed court vision to find Ryan, got Dad in the air with the shot fake, then threw a nifty bounce pass for Ryan to finish it off.

The Parrots on the other hand…played some of the worst defense you’ll ever see. First off, who was Mom guarding here?

Her son is wide freakin’ open and she’s standing there expecting the player with the hook hand to go to her hook side? She should have to run in practice tomorrow.

Dad’s no all-star here either. Watch the GIF again and see how slow he is to recover after Karlie makes the pass. He has every opportunity to stop Ryan from winning this game and he passes it up. Also, what is he doing here?

We can leave it at that. The episode airs on Friday and surely we’ll have more highlights from this remarkable clash of titans.

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