Odai Beckham Jr received a pass from Kobayashi Ichikawa. He was outside the three point line and he noticed with a start, that he was wide open and nobody was guarding him.
“SHOOT THE BALL!” yelled Kobayashi.
Odai got into a shooting motion, and prepared to take the shot. But suddenly, the nerves hit him. He knew he wasn’t a good three point shooter, and was an even worse free throw shooter. He didn’t want to miss a three and lose possession of the ball.
Even though he was wide open, instead of shooting, he flung a pass to Lokesh. Lokesh wasn’t expecting the pass, but he caught the ball anyway, courtesy of his huge hands. He then threw up a lob for Keon Jordan Jr, who caught it and dunked it easily.
The center of the Baltimore Barrage, Deandre Washington, (who Odai understood that Keon absolutely detested) dribbled the ball into the scoring court. He suddenly saw that he was being guarded by the 5’5 Japanese guy, Kobayashi.
“Do that swipe-steal of yours! He’s huge!” Odai thought, having been the only one to see the move before.
He’d almost been a victim of that move himself.
He knew how amazing it was.
But what he didn’t know, was that Kobayashi had vowed never to do that move again.
Deandre Washington put up a mid-range shot. It hit the rim and bounced off as Washington groaned in annoyance. Odai recovered the rebound and threw a long distance pass to Danny Reynolds, who was waiting near the NBA logo. Danny took a long, long, three pointer.
“OH MY GOODNESS! DANNY REYNOLDS! FOM THE NBA LOGO! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! HOUSTON NOW WITHIN TWO POINTS AS BALTIMORE CALLS FOR TIME! WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE PASS BY ODAI BECKHAM JR TO REYNOLDS!”
Odai and Kobayashi returned to their bench and saw Lokesh Kumar beckoning over to them. “What’s going on, guys?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Odai, you were wide open, and Kobayashi, you could’ve stolen the ball. Yet, Odai didn’t shoot and Kobayashi didn’t steal,” said Lokesh. “Why?”
“Be confident, guys! Be confident enough to do what it takes!”
“No excuses,” said Lokesh. “You all too!” he added, looking at the other members of the team. “Just be confident in your abilities and to do what you need to do! Remember, we can’t win squat without you all!”
He smiled and gave them a thumbs up as the timeout ended.
Everyone grinned at each other, feeling a little more inspired.
But little did they, and Lokesh himself know, that his confidence, resolve, and love towards basketball were all going to be tested.
To their absolute limit.
Kobayashi ran the play and passed the ball to Lokesh, who found himself being guarded by the seven-foot-two Deandre Washington. Lokesh suddenly felt the crushing strength of Washington, and his absolute brute power pushing him out of his position. “He’s this strong?” thought Lokesh.
“Is this what Keon deals with on a daily basis?”
His line of thought was correct. Centers typically take the biggest physical beating in the low-post. Lokesh wasn’t the strongest guy, though he could hold his own. But, he was simply a feather in the path of Deandre Washington and his mighty frame.
He used Washington’s own force against him by suddenly spinning out of his path, causing the big man to lose balance. But, due to Lokesh’s inferior strength and the fact that he didn’t use much force hence had less momentum, he quickly recovered and jumped in front of Lokesh to block the layup.
Lokesh had no intention of doing a layup.
Deandre Washington knew that this guy could stay in the air for a long time, but he didn’t know he could stay afloat for that long. Lokesh borderline-levitated as Deandre Washington started to fall. Then, he posterized him with the most brutal dunk of his career.
“WHOAAAAAAAA! LOKESH KUMAAAAAAAAAR! WITH THE EMPHATIC POSTER! JESUS CHRIST! THIS KID CAN FLY!” yelled the commentator.
Nobody noticed Deandre Washington seething with rage after being dunked on. He suddenly felt an urgent need to strangle Lokesh. His face tightened with pure hatred and bloodlust.
20 seconds left.
Baltimore Barrage 102 – Houston Spacewalkers 101.
A one-point differential.
Josh Okongo passed the ball to Deandre Washington, who jumped up, spinning towards the hoop to do a 180° spin and dunk it.
Lokesh had jumped as high as he could and poked the ball out of Washington’s hands. His eyes widened in horror as he realized what had transpired.
Odai recovered the ball and tossed it to Lokesh, who leapt from the inner free throw circle to dunk it. Deandre Washington leapt up to stop him, his eyes filled with crazy hatred.
That’s when it began.
One of the worst incidents in NBA history.
Lokesh flew at Deandre Washington to dunk on him again. He saw Deandre with one hand blocking and one hand prepared to swat the ball away. As Lokesh got closer to him mid-air, he saw the swat-hand swinging at the ball. He tightened his grip on the ball, hoping to score and draw a foul.
But, Deandre Washington never intended to swat the ball.
Lokesh felt his nose break as Deandre Washington smacked him right in his face. He let go of the ball out of sheer pain and tried clutching his face.
Deandre Washington wasn’t done yet.
As both he and Lokesh fell, he waited for Lokesh to hit the floor. At the point where Lokesh’s legs hit the ground, he kicked out at Lokesh’s knees. His foot hit Lokesh’s kneecap.
Odai instantly knew that something really, really, bad had happened. Lokesh fell at an awkward angle and clutched his knee and face.
“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!” he yelled in excruciating pain.
The crowd fell silent. Then started to both boo and cheer Deandre.
“OH MY GOD, ARE YOU OKAY?” yelled Odai, Kobayashi, and Dan, running towards him in top speed.
Lokesh’s knee was bent at an awkward angle. His face was bleeding profusely. It seemed like a waterfall of crimson cascading down his face and soiling his jersey.
“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!” he continued to scream.
Odai, Kobayashi, and Dan tried wiping the blood, sweat, and tears off their injured franchise player’s body. “Breathe, breathe. It’ll be okay,” they were saying.
But, Keon Jordan Jr was looking at Deandre Washington.
“YOU DIRTY, CHEATING SCUM!”
Unable to take the insult and injury of his best friend, Keon charged at Deandre like a mad bull and aimed a few punches at his face. Deandre caught Keon in a headlock. Then, he tried shoving him to the ground. But, Keon held on to his head and both of them fell down, trying to sock each other in the face.
People were screaming. Security caught Keon and tried to pull him off. Josh Okongo, Jared McRod, and Petar Varga pulled Deandre Washington away from his battle. They were both still screaming insults and swear words at each other.
Amidst all this confusion, Kobayashi noticed Stanley Smith inconspicuously and casually stepping over Lokesh in a disrespectful fashion. Kobayashi lost it. He flung the ball at Stan, which found its mark and hit him neatly at the back of the head. Stan turned back in pain and charged Kobayashi to hit him. He threw a hooking punch that missed badly, courtesy of Kobayashi’s low height. Taking advantage, Kobayashi got him with a stomach-punch. Stan collapsed, holding his abdomen.
Deandre Washington looked at Lokesh, stuck his tongue out and wiggled his fingers at him in a mocking goodbye. Keon lost every bit of sanity he had left. He broke through security and attacked Deandre again. The pandemonium was so loud and so bad that backup security had to be called. It wasn’t an easy task repelling two powerful giants trying to fight each other.
Players, referees, personnel, security, and even the police had to be called to diffuse the fight. Finally, the combatants were broken up. Lokesh was taken away on a stretcher. He was accompanied by Danny Reynolds and Odai Beckham Jr. Keon and Kobayashi were taken away by security personnel under tight scrutiny.
But, it wasn’t over yet.
As Lokesh was getting stretchered away, an absolutely idiotic fan in a black hoodie threw a beer can at the injured Lokesh. It hit the stretcher and fell to the ground. Dan and Odai, who maintained their composure up to that point, finally gave way to anger. Dan flung the can back at the fan furiously. It hit him in the face and he squealed in pain.
Odai, however, took it a step further.
Using his long legs and enormous stride, he flew up ten rows of seats and reached the unfortunate, yet stupid fan. He grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and bashed him against the seats, grills, and floor. The guy tried to throw a couple of punches, but Odai blocked them easily and flung him to the ground, knocking him out.
Three of his friends tried to gain retribution for their pal by fighting Odai. But to no avail. Odai bashed two of their heads together, and kicked the third one in the chest, who felt he’d just been hit by a battering ram.
This was a guy who’d grown up on the streets of a bad neighborhood, and, had done some time in prison.
He could handle himself in a fight.
The police pulled Odai away and towards the locker rooms. Danny was also accompanied by the cops. “Oh no,” Dan thought. “What have we done?”
The game was cancelled, and Baltimore won 102-101.
The Houston Spacewalkers didn’t make the playoffs that year.
They lost their budding franchise superstar to one of the worst sports injuries ever.
This would go down as one of the worst fights in NBA history as The Baltimore Brawl.