Kawhi Leonard sat in the pew, looking classy but not over-dressed. He wasn’t much of a religious man, truth be told. But the mild downsides were outweighed by the PR benefits of being seen at a church periodically.
He wasn’t really paying attention. In the years of being a player under coach Popovich, he had mastered the art of looking attentive while thinking about cheerleader booty or fat stacks of cash.
He noticed that everyone around him had bowed their heads in prayer. He followed suit. In a deviation from his usual course of action, he decided to try actually praying. How hard could it be? Free god-points.
“Dear God, thank you for…”
“Yo, yo, yo. Shut up. I may be good but I ain’t a god.”
Kawhi started. He peeked around to see if anyone else was receiving the same transmission he was. If his pew-mates were they didn’t show it. Was this how prayer always worked? “What do you mean, you ain’t a god? You tellin’ me all this churchy stuff is a bunch of hooey?”
“I said shut up! Listen! This is MJ. Michael Jordan. The GOAT. Greatest of all time, he who is adorned with championship rings six. Heed my words.”
“Alright, so god is MJ. Makes sense to me now. The reason you got away with all those travels and carries was cause the refs were afraid of your divine power.”
“Do you ever shut up? I already said I ain’t god. I’m just a conduit of his holy majesty. For being the best basketball player ever, I was allowed certain benefits. One of those being the ability to hijack prayers. I been trying to get you for years now but you ain’t never praying.”
“I guess I thought it wouldn’t work as well as this. Though I might just be losin’ my mind.”
“Anyway, I been watching you play and…”
“Watching like on the TV or like spirit-watching?”
“TV watching. And I just wanna say how much I like your game. You shoot it like me, you dunk it like me. If you was on a less-stacked team, like the Bobcats or something, you could maybe even average close to me. That’s how good you are. The modern-day MJ.”
“Wow, that means a lot coming from one of the greatest players of all time.”
“One of the? I thought we already determined I was the greatest. The GOATest.”
“Well, Kareem has way more points than you and he didn’t even get his father killed due to his gambling debts. Plus he wasn’t the GM of the worst team ever.”
“I rescind my compliments. And, be sure, god will hear about this. He has some nice places in hell for those who don’t respect his holy and glorious work, or the work of his chosen ones.”
Kawhi opened his eyes. He was laying in the center aisle, surrounded by scared-looking church-goers.
“Hey, what happened?”
The minister spoke. “You fell to the ground and started convulsing. This is a normal occurrence when the power of the holy spirit fills you. We didn’t think much of it until you started speaking. ‘Deliver me from good, lord Satan!’ ‘This is the last rite of Satanas!’ ‘I am filled with Luciferian glory!’ ‘God is dead and all I see is pestilence and death!’ “Kareem is the greatest of all time!” I don’t know who Kareem is, but I know enough that you should probably leave.”
Kawhi got up, attempted to brush off the vomit that now adorned his suit, and walked out into the muggy San Antonio morning.
“I don’t know what the big deal is. Anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that Kareem is the GOAT.”