(1) Neon Bodeaux, Blue Chips vs. (16) Kenny Tyler, The 6th Man
We’re all walking, through the swamps, past the railroad, onto the town’s one main road. There are cracks all over the cement, and houses lining the street, some boarded up and some falling apart. You notice a sign to your left. Algiers, Louisiana it reads in red. Where are we? Everyone seems to be thinking.
It takes you back to the meeting you had with a scout three days prior. A dark, rainy night, all you wanted was a drink and a song. It was late. You were tired. But your friend starting talking. He started talking that slick game, the game he gets to kicking when money’s on the line… money, fame and basketball. He starts talking about some kid you’ve never heard of.
“Where’s he from?” you ask.
Okay, so you know the name but not the place. A whole crowd of young kids follows you into a barn. Inside, there’s a buzz forming for one man standing underneath one of the makeshift hoops. He’s too big, you realize. How can anyone beat this guy? Neon Bodeaux, you remember. That’s his name. He’s dunking in warm-ups, and nearly ripping the rim off.
In the crowd, a lady is screaming at the top of her lungs and nearly decking those seated around her with an enormous white poster board. A-K, all the way, it reads. She’s yelling it over and over again. A skinny kid, not more than 22 years old, with a goofy look on his face, finishes lacing up his sneakers and walks out to meet the beast in front of him.
“What’s up bra?” the big man tells him as Kenny Tyler’s neck careens up to meet the seven footer’s gaze. Before waiting for a response, Neon puts an arm on his shoulder and says, “I just wanted to let you know. This tournament is cultural biased.”
Kenny raises a finger to say something back in his scratchy voice but its too late. The crowd is rising, the ball is enveloped in Neon’s hands and it’s game on.
Neon scores first. Easily. But Kenny comes back and somehow banks in a shot from nearly 20 feet away. Neon stares around in disbelief. Kenny is talking to himself… or to someone.
“I told you I don’t need your help,” and suddenly he’s shadow boxing. Neon chuckles to himself before drop stepping and flushing another near rim breaker. But once again, Kenny makes some shot that seems to drop from the heavens. He’s still talking to himself.
Back and forth the game goes with no real end in sight. This is going to be a long game, you find yourself admitting.
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