"Hello, is Mr. Thorn in? This is Jeff Pearlman, from Delaware."
" Mr. Thorn isn't in," said the voice at NBA headquarters, "but our director of security would like to speak to you."
" Mr. Pearlman, this is Larry Richardson. We'd like to know if you're for real."
Ever notice how dreams have a way of imploding? There would be no Air Pearl Jams, no Wheaties box with my picture, no Letterman gigs. "Did you really play at Delaware?" Richardson asked.
Like all scam artists, I did what had to be done. "Yes," I said, thinking of track, the Tools, Frisbee outside my dorm.
"Nobody here has heard of you. Do you really think you're one of the best players in the world?"
"Not yet, but I can be. I think with proper development and a few other things"—a drastic reduction in basket height, the outbreak of a mysterious plague that renders all other NBA players clinically blind—"I can be something special."
"Have you thought about the CBA?"
"Yes." Many times—especially when I was 12 and got free cotton candy at an Albany Patroons game.
"How about Europe?"