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Suns fan Jesse Eisenberg meets NBA hero Dan Majerle on Bickley & Marotta

(AP Photos)

Oscar-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg revealed this week on the Upon Further Review podcast with Mike Pesca that he grew up a big Phoenix Suns fan.

More specifically, he grew up a big Dan Majerle fan.

As a 9-year-old, he wrote a letter to his basketball hero and never got a response.

So 25 years later and 25 years after the Suns’ 1993 NBA Finals Game 6 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Bickley & Marotta brought together Majerle and the actor, who is most well-known for playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

Speaking with Majerle on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, Eisenberg agreed that Phoenix losing that Game 6 on a defensive breakdown leading to John Paxson’s shot was all former Suns guard Danny Ainge’s fault — not due to Eisenberg’s letter he sent to Majerle.

“I should be going to Boston now with my torch,” Eisenberg said.

On Thursday, Eisenberg and Majerle discussed that, why Majerle didn’t read the letter and why the East Coast kid began following the Suns while they met on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Why did Eisenberg latch on to the Suns?

Eisenberg: “I think it was that team. It was that amazing team. I had the jersey of everybody on the Suns, including Cedric Ceballos, Elliot Perry. I think I loved that team. It was so exciting. There were a lot of Bulls fans. I think that my best friend at the time was a Bulls fan, so I maybe it was the natural kind of counter to that. I loved Dan Majerle. Right now, the game is all real long-distance shooters. At the time it was a little more unusual, it was a real center-dominated game.

“(Majerle) was just so thrilling. It seemed, like, possible. It seemed possible for somebody like me, a skinny kid in the suburbs, maybe I could, like, shoot. Maybe you don’t have to be that strong — even though Dan Majerle is so strong as well.”

Is Eisenberg still a Suns fan?

Eisenberg: “This is the beginning of the new team. Since I started kind of getting back into watching basketball maybe like five, six years ago, I do always watch the Suns with some kind of nostalgic hope. It looks like they have a good shot. They just have to get this (No. 1 draft) pick right.”

On the creation of the podcast and the story of a schoolmate throwing mulch at his head:

Eisenberg revealed Thursday there was some embellishment in the name of entertainment in his Slate podcast, in which he described being the victim of a mulch-throwing bully and then writing Majerle to help him.

Eisenberg: “Very little was true in the podcast except that I did write the letter to Majerle. One of the things that was true was this kid threw mulch at my head. I don’t even think this kid knew who I was. There was like mulch around the tree around where the buses picked up the kids in sixth grade and he just started throwing mulch at my head. I just remember thinking, if you’re going to get something thrown at your head, this is the one of the lightest possible woods to be thrown at your head — it’s great.”

Below, listen to Majerle’s earlier interview with Bickley & Marotta, where he discussed Eisenberg’s podcast and his own memory of the fateful Game 6 backbreaking play.

Bickley & Marotta

Suns Interviews and Podcasts