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The big green car came to an unmarked crossroad and slowed. Pavalon hit the window button. "Turn right, Joe," he ordered. The car began to turn left. "Joe, right. Turn right." Joe made the correction. Pavalon sat back, shaking his head. "We'll be at the deer farm in a few minutes," he said.
"That Kelly—he never would let me take a shot during a game," Pavalon resumed. "He was always telling me to wait. I'd get so mad I'd feel like kicking the basketball out of the gym. But, you know, I was learning, and I didn't even know it. I mean, when I played center it was my job to pick, to rebound, to pass off, and it was my job to understand my inability to score, based on the percentage of shots taken, as compared to my two guards and two forwards.
"That's how Kelly psyched me. He was training me to know that you should give a person the opportunity to work up to potential, to appreciate people for their competence at the level of their talents. The Packers don't expect Henry Jordan to be a quarterback. They expect him to be a defensive tackle, and the best. It's the old thing of teamwork. I was trained in that at Green Briar Park. Kelly trained me. You don't just learn that. You're not born knowing that if you can't shoot from the outside, you damn fool, pass the ball off to someone who can, because the name of the game is win."
One year Kelly's team battled its way to a park championship final, and, with two minutes to play, it had a 30-point lead. Pavalon was begging Kelly to let him take just one shot.
"Not yet," said Kelly. "Hey, you other guys, keep the ball away from Wes. Wait a bit."
"Kelly," Pavalon pleaded. "Now there's only 30 seconds left. Let me take just one lousy shot. This game is going into the newspaper."
"Not yet," Kelly said firmly. "I'll let you know when."
And time ran out.
Pavalon chased Kelly into the dressing room. "For Pete's sake, Kelly, why didn't you let me take one shot?"
Kelly, who is 5'7", reached up and patted Pavalon on the shoulder. "Kid," he said, "I don't want you to get no bad habits."