Chapter 15:

What's In A Franchise Player?

64


Carnegie HillsBookmark here

New York City, New YorkBookmark here

USABookmark here

A disgruntled Rochelle Jordan yanked open her son Keon’s door to find him shooting and blasting aliens on his PlayStation. It was 3 AM in the morning, and the city that never sleeps seemed to finally be at rest, all except for Keon. Bookmark here

“Note to self,” thought an irate Rochelle. “Never buy the kid any other gaming console, no matter how many Drew League (1) games he wins!” Bookmark here

“Keon Jordan Jr! You turn off that godforsaken device and go to bed!” she yelled. “We can hear the gunfire till our room! It’s like a warzone!”Bookmark here

Keon grunted. He didn’t even realize it was 3 AM. He had only started playing to get over the grief of losing to Cathedral High, but the game had stretched all the way into this ungodly hour of night.Bookmark here

“Got you, mom,” he said.Bookmark here

“Keon, you really have to take control of your life. This can’t continue!”Bookmark here

“Don’t lecture me, mom. I’m going to bed now. I don’t want to hear it!”Bookmark here

Rochelle still couldn’t get used to the boy’s rudeness.Bookmark here

“Your father is having a friend over tomorrow, Keon,” she said. “I want you to be on your best behavior.”Bookmark here

“All right, mom. Please, I’m going to sleep now.”Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Keon went to school the next day to find his headmaster beckoning over to him. “What’s the matter?” he asked. “Sir,” he added forcedly, looking at the scowl on his headmaster’s face.Bookmark here

“Someone’s here to meet you,” said Principal Patterson. Bookmark here

“Who?”Bookmark here

“You’ll know when you talk to him. He’s in the gym”Bookmark here

“God…” thought Keon. “Who could this be?”Bookmark here

“And don’t you dare skip any more classes!” threatened Principal Patterson. “Your attendance is a record low in this school! It looks like a phone number when put together!”Bookmark here

The other students roared with laughter.Bookmark here

“Aw snap!” thought Keon angrily.Bookmark here

Keon trudged into the gym to find his coach and a well-dressed gentleman waiting for him. “Oh man! An NBA scout! I’m sure he’s heard of me!” thought Keon happily.Bookmark here

“Mr. Keon Jr?” asked the gentleman.Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

Keon suddenly averted his gaze to the furious look on his coach’s face.Bookmark here

“Sir,” he added forcefully.Bookmark here

“Disrespectful little brat!” thought the coach.Bookmark here

“Well. I’m here because I’ve heard quite a bit about your extraordinary talent. I mean, it makes sense, considering your dad is Keon Jordan Sr. and your mom is Rochelle Lara…”Bookmark here

“My parents have nothing to do with my talent, that’s all me!”Bookmark here

“Fiercely independent! Well, I like that. I’m here to make you an offer, Keon. I may have a good spot for your talent to bloom!”Bookmark here

“Which NBA team do you represent? New York Skyscrapers? Miami Coasters? Or do you represent that city that never wins in the Houston Spacewalkers? Coz I can win you guys an NBA title! I can be your franchise guy!” said Keon confidently.Bookmark here

“That’s nice, kid. But I’m not from the NBA. I represent an NCAA team. Do you really see yourself as a franchise player?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, of course!”Bookmark here

Keon again averted his gaze to the furious look on his coach’s face.Bookmark here

“Sir,” he added forcefully.Bookmark here

“Well, we may have just the program for your talents to blossom. You’ll be graduating in a year, I guess?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.Bookmark here

“And you live in New York?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

“You want to continue living in New York?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir. This is where my family and friends are at. I have a nice home here. Don’t want to leave!”Bookmark here

“Excellent!” said the scout.Bookmark here

“You forgot to introduce yourself, sir,” said the coach.Bookmark here

“Why, yes! How silly of me! I’m Brad Wills, a scout for the University of Manhattan!”Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Keon returned home to find his father with a guest.Bookmark here

“Come on in, son! This is my ex-teammate Robert Carole. We played for seven years together! Rob, this is my son, Keon Jr!”Bookmark here

“He’s going to outgrow you pretty soon, Keon!” said Rob. “He’s probably already six-foot-eleven!”Bookmark here

“He’s exactly six-foot-ten, Rob. Still an inch left to outgrow me!” said Keon Sr.Bookmark here

“Centers!” grumped Rob. “Always talking in terms of six-tens, six-elevens, and seven foots!”Bookmark here

The two men shared a hearty laugh.Bookmark here

“His mom is six-foot-eight, Rob,” said Keon Sr. “My mom was five-foot-six! Don’t blame me if he outgrows me!”Bookmark here

“Got you, Keon,” said Rob. “So, what’s the plan, kid? You declaring for the NBA draft when you turn nineteen?”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

His coach’s furious stare had clearly worked.Bookmark here

“How do you plan on getting to the NBA level, kid?” asked RobBookmark here

“I think I’m there, sir. Once I reach my full height, I’ll be a legitimate franchise-level player!”Bookmark here

“A franchise-level player?” asked Rob, raising his eyebrows. Bookmark here

“Yes, sir.”Bookmark here

“You know, Keon?” said Rob to Keon Sr. “These days, the commentators like using the phrase ‘Franchise Level Talent’! I disagree with that phrase strongly, man!”Bookmark here

“Really?” asked Keon Sr.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” said Rob. “Talent isn’t what makes a franchise level player. It’s something else, man. Something that you and I will never know!”Bookmark here

“Franchise players are just built different, man!” agreed Keon Sr.Bookmark here

Real franchise players come along once in a while, man,” said Rob. “But when they do, they’re going to blowtorch the league. They become icons in their respective cities! That kid, Josh Okongo, who left Houston yesterday, now he’s a real franchise player, man. Too bad he wanted out. Could’ve taken the trophy to Houston!”Bookmark here

By now, Keon Jordan Jr was at the pinnacle of confusion. “Sir, if talent doesn’t make a franchise player, what actually makes a franchise player?”Bookmark here

Robert Carole looked at young Keon Jordan Jr and smiled.Bookmark here

“It’s hard to explain in words, kid. Our team never had one! Maybe that's why we could never win!"Bookmark here

He then looked directly into Keon Jordan Jr’s eyes.Bookmark here

“You’ll know when you meet a real franchise player, what it takes to be one!"Bookmark here

EndnotesBookmark here

1. Drew League: The Drew League is a pro–am basketball league held every summer in Los Angeles, California. Established in 1973, the league has grown in popularity over the years, with NBA players regularly participating in its games. Many school and college players also play there.Bookmark here

2. Franchise Player: Basically the guy who represents your team and appears as the face of the team. Examples include Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets). Some lesser knows teams with amazing franchise players include Memphis Grizzlies (Ja Morant), Dallas Mavericks (Luka Doncic) and Denver Nuggets (Nikola Jokic). Bookmark here

Note that Nikola Jokic was awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the 2020-21 season.Bookmark here

Author’s Note:Bookmark here

Guys, if you’ve stuck with the story till here, I’d like to thank you all. I’ll just remind you that this is just the part of the story that covers the backstories of all the players. I haven’t even gotten to the real basketball part yet.Bookmark here

I’d also like to thank everyone who has been regularly reading and liking the chapters! I don’t really want to take the names of these guys but I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart! There have been some other authors who have been checking out my novel and have been regularly following the chapters. Thanks a lot to y’all!Bookmark here

Also, from here, the regular story order is going to change. I’ve been taking the tale in rounds of chapters that follow Lokesh Kumar, Kobayashi Ichikawa, Danny Reynolds, Odai Beckham Jr, and Keon Jordan Jr, in that order. But that stops with this chapter. From here, I’ll be switching things up a bit. Characters may get more than one chapter, or none at all. Bookmark here

I hope everyone enjoys what’s to come!Bookmark here

Let's go watch our guys drop some dimes!Bookmark here

Peace Out.Bookmark here

~ Author Bookmark here

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