I stood 5’2″ and weighed in seven pounds short of a dollar. I rode four seats from the back of the bus on my way to junior high¿seventh grade to be exact. One fateful day, the bus bounced to a halt, the doors folded open, and on walked a pair of purple and yellow Converse weapons. They became bigger as they stepped closer. I studied the laces and stitching. They spoke to me, “Move over, spaz!” Actually, the senior wearing them spoke, and I moved. Little did I know, my destiny had just been revealed¿I would become a basketball star.
Years went by and puberty filled the distance between my hand and the rim. At 5’11 3/4″ and a buck 55, the rim was now accessible. Even though snowboarding had taken me down a different path, far away from b-ball, my destiny beckoned.
It was 1997, and Michael Jordan happened to be in L.A. on the set of Space Jam. We did lunch, and I told him my dream of slam-dunking from a halfpipe. He was interested. It was difficult working around his filming schedule, but we trained every chance we had. He would make me run drills and do calf exercises, stopping only for a sip of Gatorade. He even ordered a pair of trainer shoes to assist my vertical leap. Filming ended, and Mike was shipped back to Chicago.
Before leaving, Mike warned me that I was not ready. Against his wishes, I made my first attempt. Missing the takeoff, I flailed out of control and smacked into the backboard. Luckily I walked away only with a mild concussion and a pulled groin. The doctors told me I would never dunk again. Devastated, I turned to Coke. Soon the caffeine was killing me, so I switched to Diet Coke.
I needed to complete my training, and World Industries was pressuring me for an ad. Somehow Kobe Bryant heard of my mission and offered to help. He picked up where Jordan left off. After six months of rigorous training, training, training, I was ready. And, I was really sick of hanging out with Kobe¿he never did his dishes, never cleaned up, and was always talking on the phone with his girl. Besides, it was game time.
As I approached the takeoff point, thoughts flashed through my head: the hard work, injuries, and substance abuse I had overcome. I saw Michael Jordan smiling down on me, surrounded by his animated Space Jam pals. I thought of Kobe at home, picking his nose as he blabbed on the phone … what a slob! And, I though about the purple and yellow hightops that started this mission. I was now fulfilling my destiny.
Special thanks: God, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dave England.
Special note: Kids, don’t try this at home. Remember that Coke is not the answer, neither is Pepsi. Stay away from carbonation¿it will rot your brain. Just say no.