‘The Office’: Kevin Actor, Brian Baumgartner, Is ‘a Great, Great Athlete,’ According to Steve Carell

On The Office, Kevin isn’t known for his athleticism. He’s known for his chili, his “efficient” style of speaking, and his Police cover band, Scrantonicity. But the actor who plays Kevin, Brian Baumgartner, is incredibly athletic. Just ask Steve Carell.

In the fifth episode of the first season, “Basketball,” we get a glimpse of Baumgartner’s athletic prowess.

Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone in 'The Office'
Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone | Byron Cohen/NBC/NBU Photo Bank


“Basketball” revolves around a basketball game between the office and warehouse workers. A group of people has to work over the weekend, and the outcome of the game will determine who will be coming in. Everyone agrees that the stakes are high.

Right off the bat, Michael chooses Jim, Ryan, and Stanley to play on his team. Begrudgingly, he adds Dwight and Phylis to the roster.

RELATED: Steve Carell Has Never Watched ‘The Office’

Before the game, Pam says she has plans with her fiancé, Roy, that weekend, so she thinks the warehouse team will win. Throughout the game, Jim makes a point to take on Roy, seemingly in an effort to impress Pam.

Just as things are really heating up, Michael gets hit in the face by one of the warehouse players, which he calls a “flagrant personal intentional foul.” He decides to end the game at that moment and declares his team the winner since they have scored more at that point. The decision doesn’t go over well. In the end, the office workers have to come in to work over the weekend.

At the end of the episode we see Kevin sink basket after basket. If only he would have been on Michael’s team.

Brian Baumgartner is an excellent basketball player

Kevin doesn’t have an integral role in “Basketball,” but at the end of the episode, his skills are really showcased. Carell says Baumgartner would just casually shoot hoops between takes. The Michael Scott actor told one of the camera people to take some footage of Baumgartner sinking 3-pointers without him knowing. That’s how that scene made it into the episode. It was just too good to not include.

RELATED: ‘The Office’ Producer Michael Schur Once Called Mindy Kaling ‘Very Pro-Gun’

“Between takes, Brian Baumgartner was just shooting baskets over on the side, and he wasn’t even in the game,” Carell told SI in 2019. “He’s an excellent, excellent athlete in real life. He was just sinking these 3-pointers, like, one right after another. I went over to one of our cameramen and I said, ‘Just film this. Just turn the camera on. Don’t let him know that you’re shooting it.'”

“They filmed him sinking one after another after another and they actually put it in the show because it was just so ironic,” he continued. “Really, the best player on both teams wasn’t even on the court and someone that you wouldn’t necessarily think was going to be a dominant force in the game. Brian is a great, great athlete. It was just a fun Easter egg, a fun find as we were shooting it.”

RELATED: ‘The Office’: John Krasinski ‘Could Not Stop Laughing’ at Steve Carell in This Episode