Impatiently, Bam Adebayo checked on the status of his new YouTube channel for the sixth time that day. However, just as the fourth and fifth times he had checked, he had just two subscribers. Why? Why did nobody want to watch his hilarious pranking videos? Why hadn’t he gone viral yet? He was so far away from the draconian, yet uncircumventable, limits that YouTube imposed on channels looking to earn ad revenue that he had half a mind to delete the whole thing and give up.
The only thing that prevented him from taking that rash step was the fact that he wasn’t earning any income in the off-season, and he was feeling it. His financial advisor had set up some arcane system where his game checks were put into accounts that he couldn’t access. So it was either become a YouTube prank star or flip burgers somewhere.
Bam tried to brainstorm. Clearly, his video of himself going into McDonald’s and asking for tacos had not tickled the fancy of the overall YouTube viewership, so he had to come up with something better. After a couple minutes of deep thought, he decided that he should leverage his status as a moderately well-known professional athlete to gain views and subscribers. In addition, he could leverage his access to other, even better-known professional athletes.
With those thoughts, it didn’t take him too long to come up with an idea for his next video. But he needed some help.
“That’s stupid. That’s never going to work,” Goran Dragic said dismissively after having listened to Bam’s plan. “And even if it did work, it’s not going to make you into a YouTube millionaire like you seem to think it will.”
“It will totally work,” Bam retorted. “You can totally impersonate Pat Riley once we get your hair dyed gray and Hassan is totally dumb enough to believe that he’s getting traded to Croatia for a package of Damjan Rudez and a 10% ownership stake in the Croatian basketball league. Besides, I’m giving you 25% of all future revenue this video makes.”
“And 500 bucks up front,” Goran added.
Bam didn’t even hesitate in agreeing to his teammate’s stipulation. “That wasn’t part of the plan, but sure. So you’ll do it?”
Goran sighed. “I’ll do it.”
Dressed in an outfit that concealed most of his recognizable features, Bam sat inconspicuously at a table in a semi-upscale Italian restaurant. A GoPro camera was hidden inside a basket of bread and pointed at an adjacent table, where Goran was nervously feeling the shaved-in, artificial bald spot in his newly-gray hair.
“You look great. Your face is all stretched out just like the real Pat,” Bam said under his breath. “Don’t forget about what you’re supposed to do with the pasta.”
“I won’t forget the goddamn pasta,” Goran snapped.
“Just making su–he’s here! He’s here! Everybody shut up!” Bam said as Hassan Whiteside walked through the door at the far end of the restaurant. Suddenly feeling like his disguise wasn’t good enough, Bam put the open menu in front of his face and peered over the top of it to observe the unfolding prank.
“Thanks for coming to meet me, Hassan,” Goran said in his best Pat Riley imitation, which sounded like an Eastern European with a fake New England accent. However, the mimicry was somewhat effective, because Hassan respectfully shook “Pat’s” hand and sat down without seeming to notice anything amiss. “Go ahead and order your food, then we’ll talk.”
After the waiter took Hassan’s order, Goran launched into the main body of the prank. “I’ll be upfront with you, Hassan. We’re discussing trades with other teams and your name has been brought up. I think it’s fair to say that your time with the Heat has come to an end.”
Hassan nodded in calm understanding. “It just wasn’t working out between me and Spo. I mean, you drafted Bam even though you already had me, so it’s easy to see where it went wrong.”
Continuing to hide behind his menu, Bam could barely keep his excitement under control. If Hassan kept talking, he might say something that would actually get him traded in real life. The ultimate prank.
“So where am I off to?” Hassan asked. “Minnesota for Jimmy Butler?”
“Even better,” Goran answered. “We’re trading you to Croatia in exchange for proven NBA star Damjan Rudez.”
When Bam observed Hassan’s eyes bug out of his head, he couldn’t help himself. He giggled. The giggling soon turned into full-blown laughter. The menu fell out of his hands as he banged the table with his fists and tears leaked out of his eyes.
“Who’s that guy?” Hassan asked, to which Goran shrugged.
“IT WAS A PRANK!” Bam yelled gleefully, startling the other diners. He ripped off his hat, scarf, and sunglasses. “GOT YOU GOOD, HASSAN! WE GOIN’ VIRAL!”
Goran, recognizing that the prank had come to an end, executed the final step: he grabbed his plate of fettuccine Alfredo and threw it right at Hassan’s face, where it splattered all over. Then, the two pranksters ran out of the restaurant, their camera containing footage that was sure to make them millionaires.