Hurley is here because Michael Jordan, Shoestring's first choice as a visitor, couldn't make it. He's also here because he loves kids and because he was recently arrested near the Duke campus for drunken driving, a charge that was dropped when he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless and reckless driving. He received a six-month suspended sentence, paid a $500 fine, lost his license for 90 days and volunteered to do community-service work, talking to kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. Technically, visiting Shoestring is not part of that work, but for the Catholic-school kid in Hurley it is certainly a form of penance. His name was smeared all over the papers after the arrest, and his embarrassment was monumental, and this, he hopes, can help pay off the debt.
Silent on the ride to the hospital, Hurley lights up when he stands at Shoestring's side. A nurse says that Jordan will be sending the boy some "stuff" soon.
"I wish he'd send me some stuff," Hurley says to Shoestring with a big grin. The boy can barely turn his head, and his voice is inaudible because of the lube in his throat, but Hurley leans down to listen.
"Coach, Shoestring's asking why we don't get nice shoes like that," says Hurley, pointing to the new Air Jordans on the youth's motionless feet.
"Because they don't go with our uniforms," says Krzyzewski. "And because our players would try to play like Michael."
In the hallway, later, a TV reporter asks Hurley how he feels about leaving soon to play against Jordan and his Dream Team mates in California. "The good part is no one will see it," says Hurley of the closed-door sessions. "What happens in that gym, hopefully, will stay there."
As he prepares to scrimmage against the Dream Team in San Diego, Hurley worries that his stamina may be about the only thing he has to offer the Olympians. He enters the gym with his teammates, then emerges from the building 90 minutes later, having battled the Dream Team without any members of the press being allowed to watch. How did he do? "O.K.," he says, looking down at his shoes.
But as the week progresses, word gradually spreads that the collegians pasted the Olympic team and Hurley did better than O.K. "He's about as good as anybody I've seen playing college ball." says Magic Johnson. "Whew! He can dribble."
"He's a great player," says Charles Barkley.
"He surprised me," says Jordan. "I thought he'd be average, but his penetration is unbelievable. Ask Stockton."