Had My Phil – An Easter Story

Yeah, I know Easter was months ago…

He who took a bite out of the Big Apple, worshiped at the alter of a false god, the idol of Jordan, proclaimed “The Greatest of All Time,” he who conspired with the serpent, the Black Mamba, and the powerful giant Shaquille, hath been laid low. It was Thee who professed of the sanctity of an unholy trinity, praying  in the Egyptian house of worship, clinging to pyramids and triangles. Thy temple has been leveled by the army of Melo and Zingas! He who is unwilling to march in step with one’s troops is destined not to lead, but to serve.

desert

“Zeke, my Zeke, why have you forsaken me?”

James cried out in agony. His desperate call was returned with silence, save for the sound of four and twenty million dollars slowly draining from his account. He had been betrayed by the gangly, multi-ringed Judas who had promised salvation, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” but instead delivered high round draft picks and talent to his enemies.

He exhaled; why was it so difficult to breath? It was more than he could bear after carrying the weight alone. He opened his belt and unbuttoned the top of his trousers.

“Sigh! That’s a little better. I shouldn’t have ordered the cheesecake after finishing the prime rib.” Jimmy shifted his weight and looked out his office window. The bread and Merlot weren’t sitting well with him either.  He had shared his table while delivering the difficult words to his disciples.

Anthony, who was called Melo, was one of the twelve. He had witnessed the broken covenant, first between himself and Philip, and now, the final betrayal of James by Philip. If only he had honored the wishes of his beloved SaLaLaome who had called for the head of Philip. Instead, he himself had succumbed to temptation, his pride leading to isolation, adultery and missed baseline jumpers.

One by one they were taken down, bodies limp, their spirit drained. Fisher, Rambis, Noah, even the Rose could not mask the putrid stench of failure. The garden, this Mecca, would bear no fruit. Iscariot, the traitor, bereft of basketball wisdom had laid waste a once powerful kingdom. James had been blinded by the gold of the multi-ringed false prophet.

He remembered the words, “Before the cock crows, thou shalt deny me thrice.” This prophecy was realized as a 3-year record of 80-166, including the catastrophic 17-65 season in 2014-2015 A.D.. It was more than James could bear. He lowered his head and wept.

His tears became rain, then thunder, until behold, there was a great earthquake. The massive boulder that had obstructed his garden was thrown aside. James raised his eyes and beheld an image of hope. His countenance was like lightning and his raiment was of many colors.

clyde

“Isiah, is that you?” James’ vision was blurred by tears.

“Nah Jimmy, it’s me Clyde.”

“Clyde? Am I dead?”

“No man, just your team’s playoff chances. But, I’m here to tell you something…”

“What is it?” James face was as open and innocent as a child’s.

“Go forth quickly and tell your disciples, He is risen.”

Once again, James called out to his savior, “Isiah…Isiah?”

“What’s wrong with you Jimmy. I’m talkin’ about the Man?” Clyde slowly unrolled  an ancient scroll. “These are the sacred words He hath passed through the chain of prophets. I will share them with thee now.”

Bounding and Astounding

Dancing and Prancing

Dishing and Swishing

Huffing and Stuffing

Hustling and Bustling

Movin’ and Grovin’

Out-muscling and Out-hustling

Posting and Toasting

Shaking and Baking

Slicing and Dicing

Spinning and Winning

Styling and Profiling

Swooping and Hooping

Wheeling and Dealing

“Follow and honor these tenets, and you will enter the kingdom.” Clyde rolled up the scroll. “Simple as that Jimmy. Spread the word. I’ll be watching you.”

James rose to his feet and wiped away years of tears, sand, and eye snot.

“Don’t worry Clyde, I won’t let them down this time.”

With that, hope was restored to the faithful. What would free agency bring? Did we dare dream of unseating the rule of the State of Gold?

If Summer league comes, can Fall be far behind?

tombstone

 

Philin’ In – Act Four

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Jimmy’s thoughts drifted back to the beach. Isiah was standing to his left, facing the minister who stood under a bough of roses formed into a heart shaped arch. The minister was speaking directly to Jimmy.

“James, have you prepared your vows?”

“Actually, I had planned to write my own, but decided that a song by my hero Eric Clapton perfectly expresses my feelings.”

With that, Jimmy lifted his guitar from its stand next to the alter and played the opening riffs to Change The World. As he started singing, the crowd was startled by his odd high-pitched falsetto.

“‘If I could reach the stars
Pull one down for you,
Shine it on my heart
So you could see the truth:
That this love inside
Is everything it seems.
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams.

And I can change the world,
I will be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.

If I could be king,
Even for a day,
I’d take you as my queen;
I’d have it no other way.
And our love would rule
This kingdom we had made.
’til then I’d be a fool,
Wishing for the day…

That I can change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.'”

“Hey James, I need you to sign off on this. Are you on board with the trade for Rose?” Jackson was shaking Dolan with one hand while he waved a paper and pen in the other.

“Rose?” Dolan looked puzzled, but continued, “Yeah, rose is good. I like rose,” he agreed as he signed, then handed the paper back to Jackson.

“Great! Then it’s settled.” Jackson rolled up the paper and stuffed it into his pants pocket. “One more thing…let me run this by you for the press conference.”

“OK?”

A mischievous smile spread across Jackson’s face. “What’s the difference between the New York Mets and the Titanic?”

“Phil…I don’t see what this has to do with…,” Dolan tried to interject.

“The Titanic hit an iceberg before sinking, and the Mets can’t hit anything.” Spittle flew out of Jackson’s mouth as he cackled at his punch line. “That should deflect the focus from our personnel moves.”

“I’m glad somebody’s having a good time,” the owner shrugged.

Jimmy delicately held a single rose as he stood facing Isiah. The minister was nearly finished.

“If anyone objects to this union, or feels threatened by the expression of heterosexual man love, speak now, before the NBA February 18th trade deadline, or forever hold your peace.”

A bright-eyed woman with dark, short cropped hair, pushed aside the crowd.

“What’s going on here? Who agreed to this? Have you all lost your minds?” She addressed the minister directly, “You better end this right now before I get everybody arrested.”

“I beg your pardon, Ma’am,” the minister responded defensively. “Same sex marriage is legal in this state.”

“I’m not talking about that, you fools…” Isiah realized what was happening and bowed his head sheepishly. The woman was Lynn Kendall, Isiah’s beleaguered wife of over thirty years.

“Isiah is already married to me! Let’s go Zeke!” Isiah obediently followed behind his wife as Jimmy fought back tears. First Anucha Browne Sanders and her trumped up accusations of sexual harassment against Isiah, and now this. Another strong-willed woman ruining his chance at happiness.

“‘Baby if I could change the world…,'” Jimmy slowly retraced his steps across the beach as he dreamed, along with millions of Knicks fans, of what might have been.

Philin’ In – Act Three

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Jimmy walked along the beach, making his way to the makeshift alter. This was the happiest day of his life. As he turned the corner, emerging from the row of sea roses, he spotted his beloved.

“Jim…James! I thought about what we discussed the other day and maybe Kurt Rambis is not the answer.” Phil Action Jackson towered over Dolan like a gaunt, enormous bird, as he roused him from his daydream.

“What is it Phil?” he asked, unable to conceal his annoyance. “What was the question?”

“About who should coach the Knicks?”

“So, you’ve finally decided to coach the team yourself?” Jackson now had Dolan’s attention.

“No way Jimbo! I already told you, that would be ridiculous. How about this?” Jackson’s huge hands framed the air marquee in the space between them, “Jeff…” he paused for effect, “Horn-a-cek.”

Dolan glared at Jackson.

“Well, what do you think?”

“Phil, you’re really testing my patience. As it is, I’m still paying Derek Fisher. What happened, you couldn’t find one of the Van Gundy brothers?” he asked mockingly. “Maybe we should call Isiah. His record at Florida International wasn’t a total disaster.”

Although Thomas’s record over three seasons at FIU was 26-65 and he never won more than 11 games in a single season, measured against the benchmark that is the New York Knicks organization under the leadership of Jackson, Dolan’s assessment was not totally off base.

“I already called Isiah’s agent, and was told he’s auditioning for a summer theatre production of Othello.”

“Isiah’s auditioning for the part of Othello?”

“No, Desdemona,” Jackson informed him as Dolan slowly nodded.

“I guess that makes sense. It is Shakespeare.” An idea slowly coalesced in Jimmy’s mind as an opportunity presented itself.

“Is the part of Othello still available?” “‘Put out the light, and then put out the light.'”

Jackson, who had already lost interest, turned on his heel and left the owner alone with his thoughts. Jackson lamented, “Why can’t you be more like Jerry Reinsdorf?”

Philin’ In – Act Two

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Dolan burst into Jackson’s office, his $500 loafers sliding across the carpet.

“Phil, I have an idea.”

Jackson, who had been lounging on the office sofa in his boxers, sat upright and grabbed his pants that were draped over the sofa arm. Pulling them up and tucking in his shirt, he rolled his eyes as he asked, “What is it now Jim?”

“I think you should coach the team,” Dolan announced.

“No can do James. No coach of my preeminence would manage this group. I’m waiting until we get Lebron, Durant, Hardin and Curry. I have a legacy to maintain.” Jackson walked over to the conference table in the corner of his office, rolled out one of the leather armchairs, and careful lowered himself into the seat. Empty food containers, left over from lunch, littered the table. Glancing over at Dolan, he folded his hands and waited for his reaction.

Dolan was agitated by Jackson’s dismissive attitude. “What makes you think you can sign all of those guys?”

“Because of these, baby!” Jackson held out his hands, splaying his fingers to proudly display his championship rings.

“Yeah, that’s great Phil, but…huh, what is that green stuff?”

Jackson sucked the mystery substance from the top of one of the golden rings. “That would be wasabi,” an amused Jackson grinned.

As Jackson chuckled at his back, the disgusted owner stormed out of the office grumbling under his breath, “Why can’t you be more like Isiah?”

Philin’ In – Act One

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

“Phil…PHIL! Wake up!” Jim Dolan yanked his GM’s shoulders back to lift his head from the desk. A rivulet of drool escaped from the corner of his mouth. Dolan shook Jackson as he slapped his cheek.

“PHIL!…C’mon man, wake up now. It’s three in the afternoon for crissake!”

“Wha’, what’s wrong? What do want?” Jackson asked groggily. He slowly opened his eyes and straightened in his seat. “Did my package from Amazon come? I’m waiting for a trimmer for my soul patch.” He stroked the grey chin hairs between his thumb and forefinger.

“No, I don’t care about that. What are we gonna do about Melo?”

“What do you mean?” The Zen Master squinted at his boss.

“He’s telling the press he’s fed up with losing, that he wants to get traded to a contender.” Dolan was frantic.

“Fuck him,” Jackson spoke calmly. “Let him go.”

“What are you talking about? You know I can’t do that. I gave up half the team and put us back in salary cap hell to get him. It’s what Isiah wanted.” Dolan gazed wistfully skyward as he thought about his former team president. “You need to apologize to him and get him to re-sign. I don’t care what it takes.”

“Apologize? To who, Isiah?”

“Yea, no wait…you know what I mean.”

“Alright, I’ll pay him what he wants and tell him we’re negotiating with Lebron.”

“That’s better,” Dolan exhaled as he brightened slightly.

“Are we done now?” Jackson grunted.

“I guess so,” Dolan paused as the short-lived smile left his face. “Why can’t you be more like Isiah?” he asked.

Jackson answered as his head sank back into his long arms folded on the desktop, “I’ll see what I can do about that…”

Jimmy’s thoughts drifted back to memories of a simpler and happier time when he and the love of his life, Isiah, roamed the halls, offices and courts of Madison Square Garden. It was a magical place where they shared inside jokes and ruled like kings.

“Isiah, does this suit make me look fat?” Jimmy looked to Isiah for approval.

“Of course not. You’re perfect!” Isiah beamed.

“Do you think I’m pretty?”

“As pretty as you want to be.”

Jimmy was pleased. “Isiah, I wrote a song for you. Would you like to hear it?” Jimmy reached behind a cabinet for his guitar.

“Of course,” Isiah replied as he sat in the corner and looked up attentively.

“There once was a man, a giant among men, his achievements were the stuff of legend…”

“Mr. Dolan, please call One-Nine-Seven-Three…Mr. Dolan, One-Nine-Seven Three please,” the page blared over the loudspeakers. Dolan sighed and headed back to his office.

 

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