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In his car, Parker tours his Brooklyn. He pulls down a street and there is nothing but an entire block of demolished things. Huge craters and burnt-out autos. A grotesque vision resembling a World War II battleground.
Farther on, he stops for a few moments at a crowded corner. Someone has been shot and killed in an apartment. People stand in the street outside the front door. There is a holiday atmosphere as neighbors chat and dogs wander about.
"Did they bring him out yet?" Parker asks a bystander.
"Wanna wait?" Parker says to his players.
"Naw," they say, and they climb back in the car and head for Foster Park.
Williams' team is composed of Anthony Harris, Jocko (the Rocket Man) Jackson from Guilford College, a couple of other college players and a handful of street players. The other team is similar in makeup: two ex-collegians, a couple of undergrads, a semipro player, a couple of winos and a few playground stars.
A crowd of about a hundred watches and roars each time somebody "does it" to somebody else. The nets are nothing but random strings, and long shots from the corners occasionally drop through the rim and bounce off the players' heads.
"Can't put up rope nets or they get stolen," says the park director. "Put up chain nets, and these guys would leave half their fingers up there."
Williams, at 6'5", is wonderfully smooth with the ball. He dribbles less than a foot off the ground, and no matter how closely he is guarded he always seems wide open. He drives on a big man and the big man goes up high—way above the rim. Williams pumps in midair and then switches hands and lays in a soft left-hander. Little kids grab their heads in wonder.