Three days later I am in the Bulls' locker room before the game. Harper, who had seen Sneaker Man in Seattle, says, "A grown man can buy his own sneakers."
The game comes. The game goes. As Sneaker Man and I stand in the cold garage, waiting for Robinson, someone tells us Jordan just gave his Airs to a kid near the team bus on the other side of the garage. We could have been there. We should have been there. Why are we waiting for Robinson? Why not Jordan? Why not the Bulls?
But then, quick as a killer crossover, Robinson's size 15 white Nikes are handed to Sneaker Man, and his face lights with joy. Michael who? Air what? "This makes it worth it for me," says Sneaker Man. "Now the two-hour drive home won't be bad."
"Didn't you come to get Michael Jordan?" I ask.
Sneaker Man looks at me. He rubs his mustache. There are no kids left, just me, the cold and Sneaker Man. "I wanted 'em," he says. "But I still got me some sneakers."