What’s more awkward that showing off a piece of memorabilia to one of your favorite celebrities only to have said celebrity point out that the item was stolen from him? For Kevin Eubanks, not much.
The former “Tonight Show” band leader had this exact experience when he met blues legend B.B. King when King appeared on the late night program. As Eubanks tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, King had just completed his sound check that afternoon and the stage had cleared out, giving the two musicians a moment alone.
“Just me and B were on the set. I said, ‘B, just wait here. I have a surprise for you,’” Eubanks says. “I come back with a jacket. And his mouth dropped. He says, ‘Where did you get that?’”
Eubanks revealed that he won the jacket during an auction at an art museum in Philadelphia. But, apparently, that particular piece of clothing had origins stretching further back.
“[King] said, ‘Man, we were playing in Philly one time, we got up [on stage] and everything out of the buses was stolen. And that jacket was on the bus!’” Eubanks says.
He can laugh about it now, but at the time, Eubanks was mortified. “Everything drained out of my face,” he recalls. “I said, ‘I’m wearing a stolen B.B. King jacket? Is that what I’m surprising you with?’ I took the jacket off. I said, ‘B, this is so embarrassing!’”
Eubanks tried to return the jacket to King, but King wouldn’t accept it. “He said, ‘Kevin, don’t you dare. I’d love for you to have that jacket,’” Eubanks smiles.
Eubanks opens up about more of his time on the “Tonight Show” on this weekend’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”, airing Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.
Another behind-the-scenes moment: