Dave Fleming


Pickleball pro, ad exec, and the #2 ranked corporate comedian according to CBS News, this Texas-based dad is also the co-founder of the Picklepalooza festival, now in its third year. Whether he’s serving on the court or serving up the laughs, he’s always having a ball.

The first time I played pickleball

Four years ago. I played in the highest-level tennis league in Dallas, and the wife of one of my teammates said, “Come play pickleball at the church!”; she was in charge of the rec center there. I said, “I have no idea what that is, but I’m in.” Four of us showed up. We just had a blast.

First time I realized I was funny

National Honor Society Inductions in high school. We turned them into skits, and I played David Letterman. Doing comedy is similar to playing pickleball in that the pressure of performance all comes down to preparation: Did you do the work beforehand?

InPickleball Issue 3 | Game On | First Last | Dave Fleming | Pickleball

My first tournament partner

Adam Stone. The “good players” in town used to meet at the Salvation Army and play for hours, learning pickleball. One of them was Adam Stone. A few months in, we entered one of the biggest tournaments in Texas and were lucky enough to win. Then we moved into playing pro tournaments. We won the 5.0 35-plus skill and age division at our first US Open. Now Adam’s one of the top pros in the world, I’m one of the top senior pros. It’s the craziest thing ever. 

The first time I thought of Pickle Palooza

2019. I had played tournaments, done coaching and teaching, and all of that comes with a pressure ante. I wanted a celebration of the sport, for everyone obsessed with the sport we love to have fun.

Last thing I do before hitting the court

I drew four dots on my paddle with a Sharpie, hidden in the Selkirk logo, to represent my wife, my two daughters, and my dog. Looking at those gives me a little nudge before a big match.