With mere seconds left in the second half and our church league basketball team up by more than 20 points, my coach decided it was safe for me to get in the game (after all, it was a church league and everyone is supposed to play).
“Fahamu! You’re in at forward” my coach called out.
The entire bench and all of the fans within ear shot gasped. I nervously stood up and jogged over to the judges table. As the buzzer rang out the clock wasn’t the only thing that stopped. You could hear a mouse pissing on cotton as I entered the court. There was a look of disbelief in the eyes of my teammates as well as the players on the other team. I found my place as my teammates prepared to inbound the ball. The buzzer signified the return to action and I found comfort in knowing there were only about 15 more seconds in the game, so the torture would soon be over. Temporarily distracted by my own internal clock counting down, I barely realized the ball was now in play.
“Fahamu!” a teammate yelled.
As I turned in his direction I saw the ball hurtling towards me. My reflexes kicked in just in time and I caught the ball before it hit me in the face… But now what?! Time stood still (at least for me) as I tried desperately to figure out what was happening. Before I could gather myself I realized all 5 of the opposing team’s players were rushing towards me.
“SHOOT IT!” a mysterious voice yelled.
In a panic, I clumsily lobbed the ball in the air towards the basket. The move resembled a drunken Kareen Abdul-Jabar skyhook. Once again a dead silence over took the gymnasium. In slow motion the entire room- filled with coaches, parents, classmates, church mates, players and more- watched the ball float towards the goal until SWIIIIIIIIIIIIISHHHHHHH… NOTHING BUT NET!
The gym erupted in cheers and applause, my team’s bench as well as the bleachers emptied out with everyone running towards me smiling and cheering. Someone grabbed me from behind, lifting me. Soon I was floating over the crowd, slapping hi-fives and receiving all manner of congratulations and praise. As the final time buzzer sounded I realized that I had actually scored in a basketball game! Talk about highlight reel material.
To David Stern and the NBA franchise owners, here’s a suggestion; if the NBA players decide that they don’t want to accept the terms of your agreement, I’d do it for like a fraction of what they get paid. Hey there won’t be much dunking, but it will be entertaining!