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Hoop dreams
"Have you given much thought to peace lately?" I ask Michael Jordan

By Moe
February 27, 2003
The Iranian

Imagine my wondering amazement this morning, sitting on the toilet and ruminating the details of the strange dream I had last night. Even more amazing was that I could remember most of the dream frame for frame!

It started as if in the middle of a movie. Setting: basketball court. There is a game on. The bleachers are full of cheering people. Lights blaring; even cameras recording and replaying every detail of the game.

Two teams are playing, each consisting of one player. Some herculean nameless guy is playing for the other team. And on this corner we have none other than the great master of hoops himself, Michael Jordan.

Both players are fitted with the usual attire of a championship game: jersey, long shorts, fancy sneakers, maybe a headband or an armband. And boxing gloves.

Yes! Boxing gloves. I remember my amazement even during the game. I peered even closer to make sure of it. And sure enough it was true. They were black, had no dangling strings, and were distinctively smaller than the usual boxing gloves. Anyway, I couldn't ponder much on the absurdity of the gloves since the action was getting intense on the court.

Jordan has the ball, he dribbles past the other guy and makes a spectacular slam dunk. The crowd rise to their feet and let out a deafening shriek. Then, while the other guy is waiting for the inbound pass (I didn't see who was inbounding the ball -- I suppose each team had only one player), Michael reads the pass, swoops from behind and intercepts the ball, and makes another slam dunk, even more spectacular than the first. Again the crowd goes wild.

As he is strolling back, the other guy -- who is pretty big, if somewhat slower -- takes a whack at Michael, who instinctively dodges the punch. Then, again as if by instinct, Michael delivers a one-two punch like you've never seen. First a jab with his right, which lands squarely on the other guy's jaw. Then a wailing upper cut to his chin, like in cartoons, where the guy winds-up his arm before throwing the punch. And the guy crashes to the mat, eh, the court, with a loud thumb.

The replay on the big screen TV shows the masterly combination over and over again. Slam dunk. Spectacular steel. Slam dunk. Punch - miss. Jab. And the knock-down punch. Even the sweat flying off the guy's face is clearly visible, a la Raging Bull.

Scene II. The locker room. Michael is sitting on the bench unwrapping the tape on his hands. He looks exhausted and a little dehydrated. No one else is around. Strange! And I'm sitting near him, watching him with awe. I tell him that was an awesome game and what a great combination. He shrugs it off, as if saying "it's all in a day's work." He's drinking something. No, it's not Gatorade. It's a white cup without commercial sponsors, amazingly. I ask him what he's drinking, and he says it's salt water, to replenish the lost alkalies in his body. I make a mental note to bring him some brine next time I visit him in the locker room.

Scene III. A lounge area in the hotel. Michael is waiting for his ride, perhaps to the airport for the trip back home. There aren't very many people around, but surprisingly I'm there. (Hey, this is, after all, my dream!) So I'm sitting there next to Michael on this plush black leather couch and making small talk with the great master of hoops. Michael is rather quite and introverted. I'm sure it's just the exhaustion from the game.

We make some small talk and avail ourselves of hors d'oeuvre on the table. As it comes time to depart, I pull Michael away and in earnest plead my concerns. He listens intently. I tell him: "Michael, you are a star and people listen to you. Kids look up to you and the media wrests on your every word. Have you given much thought to peace lately?" I ask him.

He looks dumbfounded. I continue to make my case. I tell him we are on the brink of war -- a massive war perhaps like we've never seen before, with the very likely scenarios of its escalation into a nuclear confrontation. I mention how President Bush has warned Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Iran, and that the likelihood of his waging war and ultimately using nuclear weapons is very real. Michael looks at me in silence and detached bewilderment.

His ride has arrives and it's time to part. I get up to leave and exclaim, "where is a camera when you need one?" wanting to record my unlikely encounter with the great master.

Things begin to get fuzzy as scenes start melding into each other. One moment I'm waiting for the picture to print so Michael can sign it, next moment we're driving in Michael's brand new Paykan while I'm navigating him through the busy streets of Mashhad to my favorite chicken hummus place. Although it's a long-shot, I'm hopeful that showing Michael a pleasant time will somehow persuade him to speak out against war. How I picked Mashhad for the purpose is beyond me, however!

I start getting a surging rush that some eminent calamity is about to unfold. I'm eating faster and faster now and urging Michael to do the same. Time is running out. Must run... must speak out... must stop the....

I snap out of the dream and realize, oh shit, my bladder is full and I make a mad dash to the bathroom, where I sit like some sage on his throne pondering the underlying metaphors to the strange dream I've just experienced.

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