New York City, New York
Ex-NBA player Keon Jordan Sr. and his wife Rochelle had just received a rather disturbing call from their son’s school. Their son, Keon Jordan Jr. had just had a bad fight with his fellow teammate on the basketball team. Keon Sr. started the engine of his Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. Rochelle could do nothing but pray to the heavenly father above.
For the safety of the other kid.
The car pulled up in front of a large private school somewhere near their home in Carnegie Hills. This was Holy Spirit Private Academy, the best private school in New York City. Only the wealthiest, most privileged families could afford to send their kids here. This was the school mostly attended by the children of Hollywood stars, big businessmen, famous lawyers, professional athletes, and retired athletes like Keon Jordan Sr.
Keon was once considered one of the best big men in the league. His illustrious, hall-of-fame career had unfortunately ended with him never winning a championship. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Keon’s journey from a good-for-nothing streetball player to NBA legend had been nothing short of blood, sweat, and tears. He played his entire career for New York, and fell in love with the city. His wife, Rochelle Jordan, was also a retired WNBA (1) center, and was considered the best in her position at that time. Both of them played for New York in the league. After their marriage and retirement, they decided to stay on in The Big Apple and raise a family there.
Many people felt that any child born to these legendary, highly talented centers would be nothing but a beast, custom-engineered to become an NBA legend himself. Their predictions came true when Rochelle gave birth to a son, who every middle school in America now accepted as the most talented center of his generation.
And that, exactly, was the problem.
“Listen, sir and ma’am,” explained the coach. “Trash-talking your opponents is a part of the game. I, as a coach, have seen enough teams to know that.”
“But who trash-talks his own teammates?”
“What did he say?” asked Rochelle.
“He was playing one-on-one with his own team small forward, Derrick White. Keon happens to be much taller than Derrick hence scored on him easily.”
“He then proceeded to call Derrick a no talent, trashy player who couldn’t guard even a snail.”
“Not only that, he further tells Derrick that a useless pile of rubbish like him belonged in a garbage can, not on a basketball court, and definitely not on the same team as him!”
“Christ Almighty!” said Keon Sr.
“Yeah, so the two guys get into this fierce punching-match. Now Derrick is in the nurse’s room with a broken nose, a black eye, and a mild concussion while your son is in the principal’s office,” concluded the coach.
This was what worried the two parents so much. Keon Jr. was so big, strong, and talented that he would look down so badly on other players, make snide comments, and humiliate them. He was responsible for half his teammates quitting basketball, and for his parents’ sleepless nights.
“There you go, son,” said Keon Sr. angrily. “Happy now?”
The principal was in no mood to entertain arguments. She had blasted the entire Jordan family, and Keon Jr. was handed two weeks of suspension.
Keon Jordan Jr. didn’t respond. He was more worried about getting burgers and fries later on. He was more worried about movie time with his friends. Mostly, he was worried that his parents would ground him for the entire two weeks of his suspension.
“Horrible, horrible attitude!” exclaimed Rochelle angrily.
Keon Jordan Sr was lost in thought. What had made this kid so arrogant? What had made this kid such a poor sportsman? What had made him such a poor teammate?
Was he a bad father?
Were he and Rochelle bad parents?
The sound of the tapping of a controller just wouldn’t stop. It was 2 AM. Keon Sr and Rochelle ware now fed up of the noise, and their son’s attitude.
The door of Keon Jr’s room swung open. His parents’ angry silhouettes walked in.
“Keon Jordan Junior! You turn that darned video game off and get to bed RIGHT NOW! You haven’t been granted a vacation! You’ve been handed a suspension! How do you sit here so calmly playing video games!? How is it that I never see you working on your game or trying to improve! You haven’t practiced for months! If you’re not willing to work hard, don’t expect any results!”
This was the fact about Keon Jordan Jr that bothered his parents so much. It was that the boy was so talented, so talented, that he refused to practice. Refused to put any form of effort into his game.
By now, Keon Jr was sick of his parents blathering on and on. “Oh shut up, will you? It was that dude’s fault for being such a sorry player. His basketball skills were worse than a monkey’s! Yet how am I the one suspended?”
Keon Sr and Rochelle were shocked. Never had the boy shouted back at them, or been so disrespectful.
“Listen, I hate all these no-talent fools entering basketball courts thinking that they can work their way up! I want to weed such talentless idiots out, pronto. There is no place for talentless athletes in basketball, or in any sport. These fools are so delusional they think they can work hard! That hard work will put them on the same level as talent!”
His parents were now shell-shocked listening to their son’s way of thinking. Listening to what was running in his mind.
“Hard work is for losers!”
1. WNBA: Women’s NBA. A professional basketball league for women.