Welcome to Sports Fan Fiction, a weekly showcase of fake stories involving the real athletes and decision makers of the Dallas sports scene. Last week: With a record of 30-15, the Dallas Mavericks are clearly one of the best teams in the NBA. The club boasts experience, balanced scoring, solid defense, everything needed to become a championship contender, except depth. Desperate for a big man, the Mavericks have attempted to persuade 36-year-old Jermaine O’Neal out of retirement, hoping that he can put them over the top. Here is a fictitious account of the negotiations.
Jermaine O’Neal made his way through the brush to his remote home. Over the last year, the former basketball player had created a brand new life for himself in a small, remote shack. Sporting a long beard and disheveled appearance, the only clue to his previous life was his ever present headband.
As O’Neal approached his residence, he noticed that his front door was ajar. Preparing to face the wild animal that made it’s way inside, the forward quickly snatched the knife he whittled from his Most Improved Player award. He slowly opened the door to find that the animal inside was the wildest of all: man.
“You’re not an easy man to find,” said Donnie Nelson, president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks.
“I like it that way,” mumbled O’Neal, as he put away his weapon.
Nelson began to walk around the space. “This sure is a great place you’ve got here. The wife and I always talk about taking a vacation like this, you know just getting away--”
“Get to the point.”
“As you wish. Jermaine--”
O’Neal interrupted again. “I go by Tiger’s Paw now.”
“OK, Tiger’s Paw, we need you. We’ve created a great basketball team and feel like your presence would help us get another title. We’re prepared to make you a very strong offer,” Nelson said, motioning to the steel briefcase handcuffed to his side.
“I don’t dunk basketballs anymore; you’re wasting your time.” Jermaine O’Neal approached Mr. Nelson and ushered him out the door. “Looks like a storm is brewing out there. If you leave now, you should be able to make it back to the main roads by the time--”
“LeBron is back.”
The words hit Jermaine O’Neal like a ton of Shaq free throws.
Nelson continued. “He’s amassing a team, a legitimate team. When he first started, everyone thought that he would just screw this up again. We thought we had time. But it really looks like the group LeBron has put together could win the title. This year. And you know just as well as I do that if he wins a title in his first year, he’ll have enough momentum that he may never lose again. The NBA could go three, five, hell, even 10 years with the same champion. A whole generation of amazing basketball players never able to win a championship because of the selfish desires of LeBron James.”
“Mr. Nelson, I would love to help you out, but I’m not the same man I was before, I’m retired.”
“We don’t need you to do much, just play 10-15 minutes a game.”
O’Neal quickly replied, “That’s what they said in Golden State last year, and I ended up playing double that.”
“Our offer is very competitive,” Nelson started.
Jermaine O’Neal gazed out the window at the rain that had begun to fall. “You know, when I was a kid, storms like this used to terrify me. I’d always worry that it was never going to end, that because it was raining at that moment it was going to rain forever. Things lasting forever, heh, such a childish notion.” The basketball player exhaled deeply, fogging up the window in front of him with lament, before turning back to face the president of the Mavericks. “Mr. Nelson, I don’t think I can help your team, no matter what the offer is.”
“We’re going to offer you 1.2 million dollars.”
“Wait, really? For like five months work? OK, I’m in.”
David Allison is a comedian based out of Dallas, Texas. You can follow him on Twitter @MrDavidAllison or keep up with his attempt to guess the jokes on Weekend Update @AlternateUpdate. He also performs regularly at the Dallas Comedy House, and this week you can check out the sketch revue he directed titled “January UP!” on Thursday at 8 p.m. or see him improvise on Saturday, January 31, with David & Terry at 7:30 p.m. and The Rift at 10:30 p.m. Tickets at www.DallasComedyHouse.com.