They are driving from Sparta, Ga., to Atlanta, a two-hour trip from the backwoods quiet of their youth to the hub-airport confusion of their present. What a day. They have visited Hancock Central High in Sparta, where coach Arthur Daniels used to make one of them wear a maroon headband at basketball practice and the other a gold headband, then always forgot which one had the maroon and which one had the gold. They have visited their mom, Grady Mae Grant, back at the small house in the half-deserted government tract neighborhood in the woods. Same house they grew up in. They have stared at the spot where they used to play in the front yard, the grass still unable to grow where they dribbled the ball. The sweet gum tree that held the basket is gone, dead from too much shaking and abuse. Only the stump remains.
"Remember the ball would roll into the garden?" Horace says. "That was the big rule—the ball had better not roll into the garden."
"Kill our mother's collard greens," Harvey says. "You'd have to sneak into the garden, real quiet, to get the ball. 'Cause if our mother heard you...."
"She'd come out with the switch...."
"Just hit you everywhere on your body."
They both are a bit too big to be hit anywhere—Horace is a little taller, at 6'10"; Harvey is 6'9". Horace is also heavier, at 235 pounds, with Harvey at 220. They are 27 years old, Horace first into this world by a nine-minute margin, which he has mentioned for most of his years as the reason that he is a little bigger, a little stronger, a little smarter and much better looking. Harvey does not agree with most of these assessments.
Horace is the power forward, the prime character actor in two Chicago Bull championships, taking the ball off the backboard for superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He'll earn $2 million for the 1992-93 season. Harvey is the so-called small forward, a reluctant but wealthy Washington Bullet, owner of a new six-year, $17.1 million contract that was obtained on July 17 when the Bullets matched a free-agent offer by the New York Knicks. Horace and Harvey. Harvey and Horace. Horace says he won all games in their youth, in one-on-one competition, all of the time. Harvey does not agree with this assessment.
"Harvey hung around with the pretty boys in high school," Horace says. "Always wanted to look good. Thinking about clothes. Hollywood. He always was Hollywood."
"Horace hung out with the bad guys," Harvey says. "All these muscle guys, with their teeth out, with scars on their cheeks. You'd see these guys coming, you'd walk the other way. Horace always thought he was a tough guy. He'd steal the food off my plate at dinner."
"I never stole it," Horace says. "I just took it."