It's the fastest growing sport in america five million pickleball players and growing among them names you'll know leonardo dicaprio jamie foxx and the clooneys even super bowl champion drew brees has joined the pickleball craze becoming co-owner of a team never signed a.

Pickleball before the sport a mix of tennis badminton and ping pong initially exploded in retirement communities today there's more than 38 000 courts across the country and multiple leagues and tournaments with big payouts the association of pickleball professionals tour gave out a total of two million dollars in prizes this year.

But not everyone is in it for the money it's a passion for the sport for the pretty picklers of far hills new jersey it's a really inclusive sport anyone can pick up a paddle and play and be pretty good at it carrie shannon started the club three years ago the pretty pickler's now proof the sport can be both competitive and casual for pretty.

Much anyone some people think it's actually a bunch of older people but i think it really is a sport for all ages and as i soon found out it's a great workout and a whole lot of fun okay let me go okay all right we're gonna win this no pressure.

Even as the sport expands at an unprecedented pace and the debate rages over how pickleball should grow most players are just enjoying their newfound hobby my kids joke that i'm in a sorority at my age because it's really is a lot of fun you can spend as much time doing it as you want there's no question pickleball will be sticking.

Around even if you're a beginner you can play with advanced people pickleball is so open to everybody and it's such a nice community all right so now that we've given you a little all right let's introduce you to some bona fide stars of the sport we have top ranked players ben johns here and jesse irvin.

Here on the plaza jesse came all the way in from la thanks for being here so i know you stopped playing tennis because of joint pains you pick up pickleball when did you realize that pickleball had become this this thing uh i think from day number two of when i started playing like day one i was like oh i don't know.

By day two i was hooked it's a lot it's a lot like tennis a lot of people are just learning about this ben i mean how does it feel to be like on top of the world in the pickleball world i mean yeah no it's a great feeling it's a privileged position to be in um but you know it's a new sport and i think there's a lot of new players.

Coming in and everybody's enjoying wait are you ranked what number one what's number one you're playing with the top ranked players with the top players don't worry real quick okay should we start it's time you're gonna stay out of here wait wait.

Wait wait really quickly so people at home know okay points are scored only by the serving team serving has to happen behind the baseline with the ball of sir the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it right and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning and then stay out of the kitchen all right.

Right here we go you ready i don't know i want to dazzle you we're ready wait wait wait nice seat yours you're going out go you gotta go craig go attack it there you go it's okay you sir you shouldn't get started now.

You're going to stand back here with me i got it okay now we're going to work our way in athletes okay it's okay hello you got a point yes so you're switching out all right you ready wait where do i go it has.

Come on craig go craig go same thing you got it baby come on all right all right last one last one winner takes all this point.

Oh too much by the way you guys i'm so worth it paid spokespeople for top four which is launching pickleball classes online they also provided the courts here on the plaza which i wish we could keep so much fun right.

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Pickleball has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Sheinelle Jones reports on the growing rise of the sports craze, and top-ranked players Ben Johns and Jessie Irvine stop by the TODAY plaza to share important tips for athletes of every skill level.

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