Wow, I had a strange dream last night.
You know how when Derrick White comes off the high pick and roll, he keeps the defender on his hip, steadily navigates his way to the hoop, keeping both his own man and the big defender on a string? In my dream, for the first time in my life, I was able to do that. (Side note: The guy covering me in the dream looked like Abraham Lincoln, except without a black stovepipe hat – just a headband. Which looked ridiculous.)
So I come off the dream high post screen, totally in control, dribbling the ball, and then, just as I was about to pass the ball back to the big guy at the free throw line for a jump shot, my phone rang.
Why did I have a phone in my basketball shorts during a basketball game? I told you – this was a strange dream. And since it was a dream, while I continued to dribble the ball with my right hand, keeping the defender on my hip, I answered the phone with my left hand.
KL: Lee? Lee Dresie?
Me: Yup. Who is it?
KL: Kawhi Leonard.
Me: (Whispering). I am NOT supposed to be talking to you. You are persona non grata in San Antonio.
KL: Hey, give me a chance. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Cold and dark Toronto nights -- and days -- gave me a lot of time to think. I’ve decided that going back to SoCal may not be the right thing for me. I haven’t lived there in years, many of my friends have moved on, and playing with LeBron doesn’t sound that great. In fact, the Lakers really stink. And I was thinking about Woody Allen’s famous line: ”You can never go home again”.
Me: Actually, that wasn’t Woody Allen. Woody said “90% of life is just showing up”. Thomas Wolfe had the “going home” line.
Me: Well said. So if you don’t want to play for the Lakers, how about the Clippers? They are even going to make the playoffs!
KL: I don’t know. Doc Rivers’ raspy voice would make me crazy, and growing up in Southern California, I can never take the Clippers seriously -- they will always be the Clippers. Your line comparing Aussie Rules Football to the Clippers still sticks with me. Patty and I even memorized it because we thought it was so funny:
KL: (In perfect Patty Mills Australian accent): “The game involves throwing or kicking an oblong ball around the field in all different directions, players tackling or crashing into each other whether or not anyone has the ball, referees randomly blowing whistles which the players seem to ignore, and points being awarded haphazardly to one team or the other for no apparent reason. In many ways, it looks like a Clippers game from the 1990s.”
Me: Hey, that’s awesome! So, if not the Lakers or Clippers, where?
KL: Well, I know you love your Greek Paradoxes. I thought about the one that you can never step into the same river twice, because it will be a different river the next time you step into it. And I realized that my hometown of Riverside, California doesn’t even have a river. It’s called “Riverside” and doesn’t even have a river? That’s so absurd. And all that led me to think -- what NBA city is famous for its river?
Me: Portland, Oregon! The Columbia River! You’re going to play for the Trailblazers!
KL: [Stony silence.]
Me: Oh, I’m so stupid. San Antonio. Riverwalk. Of course. You do want to come home, whatever Woody Allen said.
KL: Thomas Wolfe.
Me: Right, right, sorry, I was excited. Did you tell Pop?
KL: Oh, he was the first one I called. You are second.
Me: Was he excited?
KL: Nope. Pop told me the Spurs were going a different direction at small forward. Carmelo Anthony.
KL: Oh come on, he was kidding about Carmelo. After he said that, I started stammering, and then Pop just laughed and laughed. When he finally stopped laughing, he said “Gotcha Kawhi! April Fool!! Welcome back. And bring Danny with you.”
As I said, it was a very strange dream. And I never did pass the ball back to the big guy for that free throw line jumper. The Abe Lincoln guy stripped the ball away from me, the ball somehow transformed into a blueberry pie, and I woke up.
I really need to stop eating spicy foods before I go to bed.