Chapter 21:

Dissolution and a Desperate Prayer

64


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Danny Reynolds got into his car and drove quickly towards the gym. It was finally that, three months to the all-important draft, Danny had received permission to work out and bond with the players on his new team, the Houston Spacewalkers.Bookmark here

He prayed that he would make a good first impression on them.Bookmark here

He was determined to get these players to work together and improve. Bookmark here

He’d come up with a plan to shed the ‘Cancer Reynolds’ tag, and he was going to make it work.Bookmark here

Most importantly, he wanted to end the Spacewalkers Championship Curse.Bookmark here

Dan parked his vehicle in the parking lot under the gym, and he quickly hurried inside.Bookmark here

The scene inside couldn’t be any worse. Bookmark here

A group of players were arguing with the deputy GM. Bookmark here

They wanted to be traded.Bookmark here

“Really?” one of them yelled. “You bring us a rookie, inexperienced coach, a certified dressing room cancer, and trade Josh Okongo for a bunch of draft picks?”Bookmark here

“You really think that this team can win anything?”Bookmark here

“Please be calm, guys,” pleaded the deputy GM. “This team had a legitimate future!”Bookmark here

“Legitimate future how? We’re sinking!”Bookmark here

“Yes, but that’s only temporary,” smiled the deputy GM. “In the upcoming drafts, we’ll snag some amazing talent! We’ll soon be winning!”Bookmark here

“Bunch of baloney,” said a guy. “First of all, four kids aren’t helping much. Second, you have two second round picks out of four picks. Second round picks are useless! Third, even if we get some amazing talent, the great Cancer Reynolds is never going to let that talent develop! He’s going to scream and insult them and demoralize them! This team can never win!”Bookmark here

“That’s right! This team can never win!”Bookmark here

“Get us out of here!”Bookmark here

“Trade us to some championship contender like Baltimore, Las Vegas, or Tallahassee!”Bookmark here

Danny Reynolds couldn’t accept the proceedings. He walked into the room.Bookmark here

“Thank you, gentlemen, for your kind inputs,” he said sarcastically, glaring at them all. “Now, I don’t intend on giving any of you experts advice. Also, I feel this team can win. You should really stick around and give this city a chance.”Bookmark here

“The city, we can give a chance. But not you, Reynolds. We can’t deal with you!”Bookmark here

“Do us a favor, and waive (1) Reynolds! We’ll think about playing here!”Bookmark here

The deputy GM had heard enough. He stepped in.Bookmark here

“Okay, gents. I’ve seen enough. I promise you, I’ll have you all traded by the end of this week!”Bookmark here

The group of dissatisfied players left reassured.Bookmark here

“Are you sure, Bob?” asked Dan. “Those are all extremely good players!”Bookmark here

“I’m absolutely certain, Dan,” said Deputy GM Bob Lewis. “A team can survive with no talent, but cannot survive with frustrated players who damage team chemistry!”Bookmark here

He looked Dan in the eye.Bookmark here

“Marcello Rodriguez brought you here for a reason, Dan. I won’t have them disrespect you!”Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

A week later, the deviant players had been traded for a new set of players and another draft pick. This time, it was another first round draft pick.Bookmark here

Danny Reynolds entered the gym to fins the new players shooting hoops and running drills.Bookmark here

“Guys!” he called. “Everyone come here!”Bookmark here

The players stopped their activities and assembled around Dan.Bookmark here

“Guys!” he boomed. “I’m happy to see everyone. Some of you might be new here. Some of you might have been here for a long time. No matter what, we play for one goal, a championship for this city!”Bookmark here

There were a few murmurs of agreement.Bookmark here

“Now,” Dan continued. “Everyone come forward, state your name, height, position, and home city or country! Introduce yourselves!”Bookmark here

Head Coach Steven Walker smiled approvingly.Bookmark here

The players stepped forward one by one.Bookmark here

“Zaire Roberts! 6’2! Point-guard! I’m from Austin, Texas!”Bookmark here

“Mike McCarter! 6’5! Shooting-guard! I’m from Jacksonville, Florida!”Bookmark here

“Don Ababio! 6’7! Small-forward! I’m from Accra, Ghana!”Bookmark here

“Kurt Solomon! 6’5! Shooting-guard! I’m from Memphis, Tennessee!”Bookmark here

“Kerubo Kimathi! 7’0! Center! I’m from Mombasa, Kenya!”Bookmark here

“Lorenzo Marino! 6’9! Power-forward! I’m from Milan, Italy!”Bookmark here

Dan nodded, satisfied with the activities.Bookmark here

“I’m Danny Reynolds! 6’4! Shooting-guard! I’m from Seattle, Washington!”Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you, Danny!”Bookmark here

“Nice to see you all!” said Dan. “You’ve all come from places afar, all to live your NBA dream! I deeply appreciate and commend the efforts you’ve put to reach this level!”Bookmark here

“Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!”Bookmark here

“As you’re aware,” continued Dan. “This city is cursed! Cursed never to win a championship! Cursed to be a joke forever!”Bookmark here

Silence.Bookmark here

“Are we going to let that continue? Are we going to be sitting ducks while others take home the championship trophies?”Bookmark here

“No, sir!”Bookmark here

“Good!” yelled Dan. “We need a will to win, guys! We need hours of grind in this gym! It’s going to be hard! It’s going to test you and push you to your limits! Are you ready for it? Can we do it?”Bookmark here

“Yes sir!” they chorused.Bookmark here

“Then be ready,” smiled Dan. “For glory!”Bookmark here

The team looked at Dan in wonder. “He’s not a cancer, he’s a tough leader!”Bookmark here

*Bookmark here

Later that evening, Dan visited a local church.Bookmark here

He sat down on a nearby bench and looked up. “Oh Lord,” he said. “I have a request to make.”Bookmark here

Pin-drop silence.Bookmark here

“I made a good first impression on my new team, Lord, but there’s a problem.”Bookmark here

A dove fluttered from a window and flew away, flapping its wings hard.Bookmark here

“I can be a leader, motivator, and guide for this team off the court. But on the court, I’m just another player. Hear me, oh Lord, on the court, we need a legitimate commander who can take charge and take control of the team. We need that guy, oh Lord.”Bookmark here

“We can win!”Bookmark here

Dan was never really a religious person. But he knew he needed to pour his soul out to someone.Bookmark here

“Lord Jesus,” he said, tears filling his eyes. “Please, please help me!”Bookmark here

It seemed that the crucified image of Jesus Christ was actually listening to Dan’s every word, reflecting the light in different orbs around the room.Bookmark here

“I just want to send my daughter to college!”Bookmark here

Endnotes.Bookmark here

1. Waiving a Player: Waived is a term used to describe when a team wants to release a player before their contract is over. The team still has to pay the player the guaranteed money from the contract but will open up a roster spot to find other players.Bookmark here

Author’s NoteBookmark here

Hey guys! I’m sure many of you are curious by now as to what the ages of our characters are! Well, here’s the list!Bookmark here

(In order)Bookmark here

Danny Reynolds: 36Bookmark here

Kobayashi Ichikawa: 19Bookmark here

Odai Beckham Jr: 19Bookmark here

Lokesh Kumar: 18Bookmark here

Keon Jordan Jr: 18Bookmark here

Well, that settles it! One important conclusion you can make from this is that Kobayashi Ichikawa and Odai Beckham Jr are both eligible for the NBA draft, owing to the fact that they are 19 years old. Keon and Lokesh, well, they’re going to have to wait another year to declare!Bookmark here

Hope that cleared things!Bookmark here

Thanks for reading!Bookmark here

RegardsBookmark here

~srj5 Bookmark here

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