The dining-room table is laden with home-cooked offerings: crab cakes, golden-brown chicken wings, spicy shrimp and butter-soaked corn on the cob. It's no stretch to say that Rotha, a Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield switchboard operator, is a better cook than her son is a football player.
After dinner Antonio walks outside to check out his childhood hoops haven at the corner of Aiken and East Lafayette. The court is marked by a pair of bent rims and tattered nets. Two men in their early 20s stand on the street corner doing nothing in particular; one holds a soft drink in his left hand and a fifth of whiskey in his right. Freeman hugs both men and chats for a few minutes before returning to the court. "I saw guys get killed while I played here," he says. "It's a trip. A lot of guys who were just as talented as I was ended up as junkies. But I've got the utmost respect for them because they never tried to drag me down that road."
Big Head B pulls up in the Navigator, but Freeman has one more memory to savor. He sets up near the left wing and says, "This is it, my old sweet spot." Someone has marked it by spray-painting a yellow football with Freeman's number, 86, graffitied on it in Packers green. Freeman pivots, fakes to his left and launches an imaginary jumper: nothing but net. "Money," he says and then lets out a triumphant cackle. He'll be laughing all the way to the bank.
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