NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The worlds of football and tennis collided Saturday, Aug. 12 for two star athletes to showcase their skills in America’s fastest growing sport — pickleball.

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center turned into a hub of excitement as fans waited for hours to witness former NFL quarterback Drew Brees and tennis icon John McEnroe in a celebrity exhibition pickleball match.

“We got here early because I’m a big tennis fan and I’m a big Drew Brees Saints fan. We wanted our seats, so we’ve been sitting here chatting for two hours,” said tennis player, Michelle Baker.

Presented by B1 Bank, the event celebrated the essence of competition but also giving back to the community. It was organized as a fundraiser for the Brees Dream Foundation, which focuses on aiding cancer patients and their families. McEnroe humorously alluded to the charity aspect, stating, “It’s his charity, so they told me before I got here I had to lose.”

Check out highlights from the match

Jokes aside, despite McEnroe taking home the victory with a score of 15 to 7, fans who lined up said, “supporting Brees Foundation is the first thing why to be here. He does good work with his foundation. The second is to see a legend like John McEnroe and a Hall of Fame quarterback, it’s just going to be a lot of fun and that’s what pickleball is about is having a lot of fun,” said fan Terry Foy.

As the spirit of friendly competition continued the NOLA Pickle Fest held 25 tournaments for fans of all ages.

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