In the meantime the breach between the Hall of Fame and Ian and his siblings has been repaired. The Naismith name is on the new Hall, in six-foot-high letters, unmistakable from Interstate 91. Ian himself now sits on the board. But now the original rules are gone, replaced again by a replica. "I'd love to see them here," says Brooslin, the Hall's curator. "They really belong here." Not that the Hall could afford them: It needed millions in loan guarantees to finish its new building. But at least the rules were on display in Springfield for the first time since Doc Naismith posted them on that bulletin board.
"We've finally got the Hall and the family pulling together," Ian says.
Says Brooslin, "Three or four years ago Ian and I basically called each other assholes, and we've been friends ever since."
Brooklyn had come up empty.
"I'm the type who doesn't get scared," Ian says. "I'll fight the Chinese marine corps. But this scared the hell out of me. This was more than a personal loss. I was telling myself I'd just lost something that could help millions of kids."
That's when Brooklyn passed the phone to one of her associates, a waitress named Star, and Star turned out to be as emphatic as Brooklyn was clueless. "Sir," she told Ian, his ear still pressed against the receiver, "you left here with that gold briefcase. I'm 100 percent positive. I saw you walk out with it."
Ian returned to his van. He lay his spreading midsection on the floor and groped. And there, toward the back, way over to one side and beneath a seat, he felt the cool reassurance of fireproof metal.
"Going up the 435 on-ramp at rush hour, this semi just closing on me, I'd hammered the throttle, then swerved to avoid it," he says. "The rules wound up sliding to the back."
From Miss Lyons, to Frances Pomeroy Naismith, to Star, the original 13 rules have had their handmaidens. In Doc Naismith's grandson they have their valet and chauffeur—allowance to be made for a man driving at a good speed.
Next time through Kansas City, Ian Naismith swung by Hooters and left Star a $20 tip.