by Mac Callihan
Hey there! NBA Commissioner Adam Silver here, and I'm overjoyed to bring this live Prophet Report to you for a second straight month, you basketball rascals! I told our dear Smith Holbrook to "can it" this month, to go hop in a pickup game at the YMCA. He can still ball, and beats me at HORSE games about 87% of the time. His hook shot is a devastating weapon in these games. It’s like that's the only shot the man was ever taught as a kid. My attempts to replicate his lengthy and graceful baskets tend to be, well…wildly erratic.
I have attempted to reason with ol’ Holbrook in regards to his sky hook, to make some kind of compromise that would only allow him 3 hook attempts per HORSE game. We played a game yesterday out on the farm and this is how Holbrook addressed me, more or less, when I tried to half-mute his hook shot magic: “…sorry, Commish, no deal. You can't oppress my greatest strength out here. It's not in your power. I refuse. You don't own my hook shot, Silver. You don't own my dreams either. Hey, maybe you should buy a 6th graders hook shot and merge it with mine, ‘cause I know how you like merging all things basketball. Maybe then, just maybe, you could beat me at HORSE.”
I replied, “Can it! Tennis match in 2 hours. The winner gets the Prophet News Report tomorrow.”
As you can gather from my presence, Prophet Nation, I beat him. It wasn't without struggle or nervy points, though. Holbrook is 10 years my senior but moves around the court fluidly. At times—and he seemed to actually teleport from one part of the court to the other. At other times, his upper torso seemed to disconnect from his lower. By the end of the match, which went three sets, Smith simply appeared to be a hologram on the other side of the net. When the hologram struck the tennis ball with it’s racket, the sound would be cheap and plastic sounding. I wasn't sure what was happening, Prophet Nation, but these bizarre, dreamlike episodes have intermittently occurred since I was a boy. Once every 5 or 6 years this happens, and it's never the same. Docs don't know. I’m not complaining.
Okay, so! What ultimately wore Holbrook down and won the match, I believe, were my crass distraction methods. In between points—and even during rallies—I taunted Holbrook hologram with rhymes and songs. During a few particularly long rallies, I spoke candidly about my political position and various current events. I even heckled the hologram as it tried to serve when it got to crunch time. On at least 100 different occasions throughout the match, I screamed, “RUN, RUN, AS FAST AS YOU CAN! YOU CAN’T CATCH ME I’M THE GINGERBREAD MAN!”
It was that bold and antagonistic “Gingerbread Man” refrain which did the most damage to the psyche of Smith. It took a toll on me, too. Repeatedly yelling something like that while in the heat of battle is not easy. It was hilarious to me when I first discovered that it was the most effective taunt, but after a while it wore my lungs down—I was gasping for air a lot and had to be more selective with it.
I saved up a small but potent reserve tank of taunt-energy for the last few games. Smith may have thought I was finished with the nonsense, too exhausted to find the words. He was wrong! That's actually how I broke the silence near the end…I yelled, “You're wrong, Smitty!” before letting loose a barrage of taunts I can't recall nor ever will recall. And I won! Bwahahah!!!
Phew. Okay…okay. I'm about done, I promise. How patient you must be to listen to my ramblings! I must ask before I go: How ABOUT our PROPHETS?! They look amazing in preseason with the regular season just sneaking up on us around Halloween. Can't wait! I know Smith is chomping at the bit for it. And Smith, I know you're listening right now on the farm with my granny Hester. If this report made you two smile, my time and energy has been well spent. I love you both. I'm Commissioner Adam Silver, and it's Prophet Reporting.