For truly it could only be madness to assemble three of basketball's most towering figures of talent and athletic prowess on one small, lumpy court in Wilmington, Delaware. Although the sun was out and there were only a few clouds in the sky, for a basketball fan it was the perfect storm.
This would decide, once and for all, who was the greatest of all time.
Note: If you haven't read the previous post, what follows will make even less sense.
Guns and I showed up first, already feeling the energies that Bird and Jordan were channeling through us. I almost challenged him to a game of "HORSE" just to help get into character.
Of course, this was impossible because we didn't actually have a basketball. We were waiting on C-Mart for that. Just like Kobe to arrive late. These young athletes have no respect.
When Kobe did arrive, we spent some time warming up, and it quickly became apparent to me that dribbling a basketball is not exactly like riding a bike. Or perhaps it is for me, since I can't actually remember how to ride a bike either.
When we finally did get started though, I felt positively vigorous. Harnessing Jordan's chi, I jumped out to an early lead. I was sinking shots and playing ferocious defense.
Action shot of me guarding Guns
At the "free throw" line (which we actually moved back to about the 3 point line), however, it was a different story. Somehow I started channeling Shaq by mistake whenever I was taking my one point shots. I didn't manage to hit any of them. What could have been a sound lead that would have allowed me to coast to victory was squandered.
Unfortunately, I also realized too late I should have paced myself. After what must have been at least 4-5 minutes of top form, my legs began to shake with the strain of going into my 2 inch vertical leap for my jump shot. Everything started coming up short. My chest and lungs caught fire, and I think for a second I even felt tingling in my left arm.
Kobe and Bird seized the advantage, cruelly ignoring my possible medical emergency. They nailed shot after shot, and Kobe began pulling a spinning jumper on the right side that proved to be nigh unstoppable.
C-Mart Takes Control
Eventually I was reduced to mere spectator as they started to pull away. I did my best to hang in there, but eventually Kobe got to 20 and had only to make a single one point free shot to win the game.
But then Kobe missed. Twenty-one is a fickle mistress, and that knocked his score back to 17.
Bird, who will always be more clutch than Kobe, took advantage.
I think I felt a breeze stir as perhaps some basketball deity came down and put a graceful touch into Guns' final shot...
... and it was over.
In typical fashion, Kobe immediately began to explain that despite the loss, he was the most skilled player on the court because he had made the most shots.
Bird just shook his head. Being from the old school, he understood that thing that seems to be lost on all but the greatest of athletes: it isn't how many shots you make, it's when you make them.
We actually went on to play two more games before I collapsed and begged for mercy. I knew that Julie, being a Bulls fan, would be less than pleased with my performance and my soiling of Jordan's legacy, but at that point all I could focus on were the simple actions of breathing in and out. I knew I shouldn't have eaten that piece of pie at lunch, I thought ruefully.
But alas, too late. And to think, that Jordan has done so much to maintain the greatness of his legacy after his time with Bulls, and I had to go and ruin it all.
Except for the comeback on the Wizards.
And his tenure as President of the Wizards.
And the gambling problem.
And the messy divorce proceedings.