I’m at a community meeting on the north side talking about property taxes when the news comes in.
Text message from Norm. One word says it all: Heat.
On my walk home, I call him on my cell phone. “So, it’s official?” I ask.
“Yeah, Benny, it’s official….”
“You saw it?”
“I saw it, Benny….”
“You watched his announcement?”
“Yeah, dawg, I saw it. Bunch of bullshit, but I saw it….”
I’m standing in the middle of an intersection, cell phone to my ear, waiting for cars to pass.
“I thought he was coming to Chicago, Norm. I actually thought he was coming to Chicago….”
“If you’re pissed, you should see the mother fuckers in Cleveland. They’re burning his jersey….”
“Nope. At least we got D Rose and Boozer and Jo Jo and Deng with his sorry ass. Those sorry-ass mother fuckers ain’t got nothing….”
Don’t like these guys….
Hardly cheers me up. I feel like the Christopher Walken character in The Dead Zone (great movie, by the way). I see the future and it’s bleak: Frustration for my Bulls and many, many championships for the Heat.
The traffic clears. I cross the street.
“Wow, so he really did it?” I say.
“He really did it,” says Norm.
When it comes to sports and my home team loses, I go through two major stages of disappointment. One is disbelief — hence all the questions, as if maybe just maybe Norm got it wrong and LeBron James actually is coming to Chicago. The second is anger — as in a F-dropping, sore-losing spasm of Blagojevich-like proportions.
“Well, Norm,” I announce. “I got one thing to say about this….”
“What’s that, Benny?”
“Fuck the Heat!”
“No, no, Norm. Seriously — Fuck the Heat! Do you hear me?”
“I hear you….”
“Fuck LeBron James. Fuck Chris Bosh. And fuck D Wade — I don’t care if he does come from Chicago….”
“I feel the same way, Benny….”
“And while we’re at it – double fuck Pat Riley!”
For all you basketball dummies out there, this is Pat Riley — the diabolical genius who put this monster team together….
“He’s the best GM in basketball, Benny….”
“That doesn’t mean I have to like him….”
“Didn’t say you have to like him. Just saying he’s the best….”
Now I’m getting all worked up. “I didn’t like him when he played for the Lakers. I didn’t like him when he coached the Lakers. I especially didn’t like him when he coached the Knicks. And I really, really, really don’t like him now….”
“He’s just playing the game, Benny. He’s just doing what we wanted to do….”
“And here’s something else I never thought I’d say….”
“If the Heat play the Lakers for the championship next year?”
“I’m rooting for the Lakers….”
“That’s right! Go Kobe! Go Phil! Go three-peat!”
He’s laughing. “But you hate the Lakers, Benny….”
“Not as much as I hate the Heat. You hear me, Norm. I hate the Heat so much — I hate them more than I hate the Lakers….”
“Never thought I’d hear you say that….”
“I hope the Lakers crush the Heat in the finals….”
“It ain’t gonna happen, Benny — the Heat’s not going to make it to the finals….”
“But, Norm – they got LeBron, D Wade and Bosh….”
“Fuck that, Benny. We got D Rose. You hear me, Benny. The Heat ain’t getting by the Bulls. D Rose is gonna come into Miami and beat them mother fuckers….”
“You think so, man?”
“Take it to the bank, Benny….”
Get a big smile when he says it. Hang up the phone and walk into my house. Feeling better already….
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