Am I dreaming? I hope so and we aren’t really getting bushwhacked by Oklahoma City and surrendering forty-three points in the first quarter to trail by nineteen. Despite shooting well we’re down sixteen at halftime and twenty after three quarters and let the gathering Thunder hit fifty-eight percent while they hang a hundred forty-eight on us. That’s ghastly anywhere, especially in our gym. Four opponents score twenty-three points or more, Paul George notching thirty-six and big Steve Adams nailing twelve of thirteen from the field. Where’s our defense? I hope I wake up soon. Don’t tell me we’re giving up a hundred ten points a game and have also recently yielded a hundred thirty-three and twice a hundred twenty-seven.
Really, I know we’re not going to win the NBA championship this year, so I’ll forget the present and turn this nightmare into a sweet dream as I envision playing next year for the Houston Rockets with all-pro guards James Harden and Chris Paul and great young center Clint Capela. They might beat the Golden State Warriors this season but probably not. With me next year we’d not only win the NBA crown, we’d have the greatest team ever. But how am I going to get to Houston. I suppose I could just roll into town. They’d take me. But how much could they pay? I’ve often played for less than the maximum and sacrificed to win titles. If the Rockets traded or bought out enough journeymen, it might work, and I wouldn’t worry what critics say. I only joined two stars in Miami in 2010. Kevin Durant embraced three stalwarts last year in Golden State. I’d be doing the same in Houston. I must do something.
I can’t join the Lakers. They have some fine young talent but aren’t approaching championship or even winning play. Imagine if I went there and exposed myself to LaVar Ball’s probable complaints that I’m getting old and the the sole reason his errant-shooting son Lonzo isn’t winning titles. No, I ain’t listening to that smack, and you know it would come. I like Lonzo, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and some other promising players on the Lakers but they’re at least two years shy of LeBron time.
Okay, what about the other team in Staples Center, the Clippers? They’ve got Blake Griffin, still a fine albeit injury-diminished player, rebounder par excellence DeAndre Jordan, and sweet Lou Williams, a scoring machine. We’d be damn good but we’d still be the Clippers and that scares me. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. Donald Sterling might don disguises and start attending games. With the Clippers, something would happen.
I know. I could join the second or third best team in the league. I’d keep signing a secret, and the first day of practice there I’d be, in Boston. Imagine Kyrie Irving’s response. Mouth agape, tears forming in saucer eyes, knees knocking, he’d howl what the hell’s this and run out of the gym, moaning he won’t play with that guy because he’s gotta be the guy. That’s a shame because Kyrie and I would lead the Celtics to glories unimagined since the era of Bill Russell.
Since I don’t lack money, only titles – three are historically insufficient – I might be willing to play for chickenfeed, the NBA minimum salary of about three million bucks. That’s no misprint, I’d concede more than thirty million a season in order to slide on, say, three more rings. That’ll certainly happen if I join the Warriors. Can you envision a backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson firing over a front line of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and LeBron Raymone James? Who would play center, you might lament? Green would and so would I and even Durant. And we’d still have big bodies coming off the bench to plug the middle. We’d be even better than LeBron and the Rockets or King James and the Celtics. We’d dwarf the Showtime Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the eighties. We’d even overwhelm last year’s Warriors who pummeled us in the NBA finals.
Damn, I won’t let a ringing phone ruin my fantasies. Who the hell is it? Dan Gilbert. He’s demanding I sign long-term with Cleveland. Hell no I won’t. He promises to bring in Paul George and DeAndre Jordan. What do I think of that? I don’t think he can deliver those two and even if he did I’d still be working for him and don’t want to anymore.
I’m returning to my dreams. They may turn into nightmares, says Gilbert.
(Review of “Basketball and Football” by the Sports Book Guy, Lance Smith) – “‘Basketball and Football’ is a very entertaining collection of essays and short stories about these two sports… There wasn’t a single story I did not like. Each one showcased the author’s writing talent, which is plentiful and beautiful to read… (The Book) is a page-turner that is hard to put down.”