The dump truck filled with gold arrives at Shaquille O'Neal's front door at exactly noon (EDT) on July 9, 1996. The dump trucks filled with frankincense and myrrh follow. I point at the procession with pride.
"For you," I say to the great man. "Something to show the measure of our commitment."
"What's myrrh?" Shaquille asks, screwing up his nose.
"I am not sure," I admit. "But it's good. Trust me."
I have been hired to represent a certain NBA team from a certain NBA city on this momentous NBA day. No names, please. So many free agents are hitting the market at the same time, 140 of the most famous names in professional basketball, that teams had to hire extra personnel to try to secure talent that will ensure a golden NBA future.
There never has been a day quite like this in the history of American sports. Not close. This is a combination of The Day of the Locust, the start of the Oklahoma land rush and one of those supermarket sweepstakes in which contestants are given a certain amount of time to fill up their shopping carts with as many groceries as possible. I have been sent straight to the meat department in search of the largest rump roast available.
"So, where's the team president, little man?" Shaq asks.
"Uh, he is at Michael Jordan's house," I must admit. "You would understand that. I would bet that any team president in his right mind would be at Michael's house. Remember the thing everyone would always say: 'What would Babe Ruth be worth in today's market?' Well, this will be the answer to that."
"What about the coach? Where is he?"
"At Reggie Miller's. Coach thinks he needs a shooting guard."