When Billy (Crystal) met Steve (Levy)
. . . on SportsCenter

Billy Crystal and Steve Levy prepare for SportsCenter in Bristol. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Czarniak)

Over two decades of SportsCenter anchoring, Steve Levy admits that he’s played the “straight man” for a lengthy list of ESPN co-anchors with great senses of humor.

[Scott] Van Pelt is funny. [John] Anderson, [John] Buccigross,” said Levy. “I’ve done SportsCenter with Kenny Mayne, who is a little bit different.”

But this?

Billy Crystal (Getty Images)

“This is Billy Crystal. He’s a legend,” Levy said late Tuesday afternoon soon after he received confirmation of his “new” partner. . . at least for one night. “Fortunately, I’m used to this role.”

(Speaking of roles, Levy has a small one in Crystal’s upcoming film, Parental Guidance. It is the anchor’s sixth major motion picture appearance.*)

Crystal made the announcement official through his @BillyCrystal Twitter account.

I have arrived. Will co anchor @SportsCenter (Wednesday, 6 p.m. ET) with Steve Levy who is in #ParentalGMovie Can’t wait. bc

“I guess his ‘bucket list’ includes SportsCenter. That’s incredible to me,” said Levy. “People have meeting or working with him on their bucket lists. I’m the luckiest guy. This is how good we have it at ESPN.”

And Levy is no Crystal neophyte. He immediately goes deep into the Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor’s impressive filmography.

Running Scared is one of his underrated movies [1987] where his character is a Cubs fan,” Levy said. “Forget Paris (1995) is one of the great NBA-related films where he plays an NBA ref [who lives in a bachelor pad described as 'a shrine to watching ESPN'].”

Crystal, an avid sports fan with leanings toward the Yankees and the Clippers, also will be part of ABC’s Christmas Day NBA quintuple-header.

While Crystal is in Bristol, he will have full anchor responsibilities in his guest-anchoring role and will also be presenting his own personal picks for “Top 10 Sports Moments.”

“He’s an icon and it works with him as guest-anchor because he’s well-known in the sports community,” Levy said. “He’s not a fair weather fan — he was a Clipper fan when it wasn’t chic.”

*Levy also has appeared in Tooth Fairy, Mystery, Alaska, Fever Pitch, The Gameplan and The Ringer.

Watch tonight’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter here via WatchESPN.

SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy on the set. (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

SHARE THIS