New York City, New York
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.
“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!”
“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!”
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.
“Got you, mom,” he said.
“Keon, you really have to take control of your life. This can’t continue!”
“Don’t lecture me, mom. I’m going to bed now. I don’t want to hear it!”
Rochelle still couldn’t get used to the boy’s rudeness.
“Your father is having a friend over tomorrow, Keon,” she said. “I want you to be on your best behavior.”
“All right, mom. Please, I’m going to sleep now.”
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.
“Someone’s here to meet you,” said Principal Patterson.
“You’ll know when you talk to him. He’s in the gym”
“God…” thought Keon. “Who could this be?”
“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!”
The other students roared with laughter.
“Aw snap!” thought Keon angrily.
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.
“Mr. Keon Jr?” asked the gentleman.
Keon suddenly averted his gaze to the furious look on his coach’s face.
“Sir,” he added forcefully.
“Disrespectful little brat!” thought the coach.
“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…”
“My parents have nothing to do with my talent, that’s all me!”
“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!”
“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.
“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?”
“Yeah, of course!”
Keon again averted his gaze to the furious look on his coach’s face.
“Sir,” he added forcefully.
“Well, we may have just the program for your talents to blossom. You’ll be graduating in a year, I guess?”
“And you live in New York?”
“You want to continue living in New York?”
“Yes, sir. This is where my family and friends are at. I have a nice home here. Don’t want to leave!”
“Excellent!” said the scout.
“You forgot to introduce yourself, sir,” said the coach.
“Why, yes! How silly of me! I’m Brad Wills, a scout for the University of Manhattan!”
Keon returned home to find his father with a guest.
“Come on in, son! This is my ex-teammate Robert Carole. We played for seven years together! Rob, this is my son, Keon Jr!”
“He’s going to outgrow you pretty soon, Keon!” said Rob. “He’s probably already six-foot-eleven!”
“He’s exactly six-foot-ten, Rob. Still an inch left to outgrow me!” said Keon Sr.
“Centers!” grumped Rob. “Always talking in terms of six-tens, six-elevens, and seven foots!”
The two men shared a hearty laugh.
“His mom is six-foot-eight, Rob,” said Keon Sr. “My mom was five-foot-six! Don’t blame me if he outgrows me!”
“Got you, Keon,” said Rob. “So, what’s the plan, kid? You declaring for the NBA draft when you turn nineteen?”
His coach’s furious stare had clearly worked.
“How do you plan on getting to the NBA level, kid?” asked Rob
“I think I’m there, sir. Once I reach my full height, I’ll be a legitimate franchise-level player!”
“A franchise-level player?” asked Rob, raising his eyebrows.
“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!”
“Really?” asked Keon Sr.
“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!”
“Franchise players are just built different, man!” agreed Keon Sr.
“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!”
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?”
Robert Carole looked at young Keon Jordan Jr and smiled.
“It’s hard to explain in words, kid. Our team never had one! Maybe that's why we could never win!"
He then looked directly into Keon Jordan Jr’s eyes.
“You’ll know when you meet a real franchise player, what it takes to be one!"
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.
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).
Note that Nikola Jokic was awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player) for the 2020-21 season.
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.
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!
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.
I hope everyone enjoys what’s to come!
Let's go watch our guys drop some dimes!