Uber CEO Travis Kalanick can probably destroy you in Wii Tennis
Buried deep within the New York Times sprawling profile of Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick is an unusual detail: he’s a record-holding gamer.
"In other personal pursuits," the profile reads, "[Kalanick] once held the world’s second-highest score for the Nintendo Wii Tennis video game."
Unfortunately, that’s all we get. There’s no other detail in the profile to corroborate the claim, and Kalanick’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on Twin Galaxies, the organization that tracks video game high scores and world records.
The claim apparently goes back to an anecdote from Uber investor Chris Sacca. Back in 2015, the investor noted on Twitter that he’d "never, ever want to compete" with Kalanick. When pressed to expand on that comment, Sacca took to Medium with a story about his dad’s failed attempt to beat Kalanick at the Wii Sports minigame.
As the story goes, the Uber CEO joined the Sacca family at their mountain retreat over the holidays several years ago. One morning, Sacca’s father — a competitive man with a love for tennis, real and virtual — challenged Kalanick to a game of Wii Tennis.
"As the match kicked off, there was my dad in an athletic stance and confidently giving it his all. He might have even been sweating a bit," Sacca wrote. "Yet, Travis was barely moving his arm or breaking his wrist. Though my dad hung in there and kept it close, Travis won every game."
The competition went on like that for a while, until Kalanick — "with full Princess Bride panache" — made a confession: he’d been playing with his off-hand. Switching to his favored hand, he then went on a 20-minute run during which the senior Sacca couldn’t score even a single point.
Once it was all over, Kalanick made yet another confession.
"I’ve played a fair amount of Wii Tennis before," he told Sacca’s father. "In fact … on the Wii Tennis global leaderboard, I am currently tied for 2nd in the world."
Sacca’s anecdote suggests that Kalanick’s dominance was recorded by the in-game Wii Sports leaderboards, of which there are no records. You can accept the story at face value or not; Sacca told the story to make a point.
Here he is sharing that same story a year later with CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall:
Can anyone else out there confirm Kalanick’s Wii Tennis skills? The public deserves the truth.