I am playing
against you in the driveway. I am the Los Angeles Lakers. You are the Boston
Celtics. We are playing for the National Basketball Association championship
once again on a Sunday afternoon.
I am Magic and you
are Larry. I am Kareem and you are the Chief, Robert Parish. I am James Worthy
and you are Kevin McHale. Anytime the ball hits the Dodge Caravan it is
out-of-bounds. All shots from behind the rosebush are worth three points.
it," I say.
I can dunk the
ball, of course, and you also can dunk. Both hands. Behind your head. Backward,
arm into the hole up to the elbow. I can dribble behind my back. You can
dribble between your legs. On the move. Full speed. I have perfected Kareem's
skyhook, the most devastating shot ever invented.
Uh-oh. You have
perfected Bird's little running hook, left-handed, almost impossible to defend.
We both can hit jumpers from anywhere. I flash a Magic smile when I make mine.
You step back to take yours the way Larry does.
We play a
different game from the one most people play. This is not high school
basketball. This is not college basketball. Our size and skills have moved us
into a bigger, more ferocious type of basketball. Higher. Wider. Faster.
Stronger. We are always bumping each other. Pushing. Scuffling.
I am 7'2", 270
pounds. You are 7'1", 240. I am touching you somewhere on your body every
time you have the ball. You are touching me every time I have the ball. How can
we miss each other? There is constant, grumpy contact.