(If this description makes no sense to you, read the description on this video as an introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAvQnU…)
Danny, flush with success after pummeling Ray Allen’s Finals-three-point record, approached his beloved coach. “Coach, I’ve been thinking ’bout that ritual that you performed when I was signed.”
“Danny, I told you then and I tell you now, that experience was nothing but the morbid hallucinations of a fevered mind,” Popovich responded, although there was a faint glimmer in his eye.
“Yeah, well, whatever it was, I think I have found those answers that I have sought ere these past two years. From what I could remember of the sacred Latin texts you incanted, it seemed like you were invoking the power of great role-player Steve Kerr to grant me guidance and three-point-shooting.”
Popovich simply stared back at Danny, neither confirming nor denying Danny’s suspicions.
Danny went on, “It makes me uncomfortable to think that our team is being helped along by a ghost of basketball’s past. It cheapens our success.”
Popovich laughed. “Steve Kerr is still alive actually, so he’s not really a ghost, but continue.”
Danny did not echo Popovich’s amusement. “Coach, I want to know one thing. Am I really the one shooting these three-pointers? Or has Steve Kerr taken my hands as his own, to continue building his legacy from beyond the grave?”
“Danny, let me show you something,” Popovich said, putting his hand on Danny’s shoulder and leading him out of the locker room. They walked through the AT&T Center for several minutes, taking turns down different corridors seemingly at random. As they walked, Danny become aware of several odd things. The hallways were branching off at increasingly erratic angles, and corridors that should have been colliding were instead diverging. A glance out of a window revealed the shimmering San Antonio skyline, but the next window in the series merely looked out upon an abandoned truckyard. At the edge of his perception, Danny noticed that small details of the building were flickering in and out of existence, as if the AT&T Center itself could not decide what form it should take for these intruders.
In time they came to a door, oddly fashioned out of wood. It was covered with markings that Danny could not decipher. He glanced over at Popovich and saw that, somehow, his coach had become clad in a black druid’s cloak without Danny’s noticing.
Popovich opened the door. The room was identical to the one that weighed so heavily on Danny’s brain. “Coach, I really don’t want another ritual, if you don’t mind.”
“You needn’t worry about that. The texts decree that you come to enlightenment in the very place where the process began. That is why we are here, in the temple of the gods.”
Danny repeated his question from earlier. “Am I really myself anymore? Or is the essence of another player, comingling with my own spiritual essence, the cause of my great on-court triumphs?”
Popovich turned to face his player, taking both hands in his own. “Your path is paved by the souls of the great role-players of our time, but you walk it under your own power. Nobody shoots your shots but yourself. What we did in this inner sanctum was unfetter your potential, with the aid of Steve Kerr.”
“But I thought you said Steve Kerr was alive? Couldn’t you just send him an email?” Danny asked.
“Steve Kerr is an exceedingly busy man. Besides, it was easier to tap into his spirit-power directly,” Popovich stated simply.
The blinders of ignorance were being lifted off Danny’s eyes. Doors locked, requiring as a key the great insight of the Spurs organization, were now being opened. “So Matt, Gary, Manu…all these guys had their potential released by the different role-player which truly embodied their unique skill set. That’s why every role-player that comes through here turns out better than anyone in the league could have ever fathomed.”
Popovich nodded. “Yes, it is true. We make the most out of our players. Except for Stephen Jackson. We did the ascendancy seven times and he just sucked more each time. That is why he was waived.”
Danny laughed. “That guy was a cancer.” But he quickly turned serious again. “Coach, I have to thank you. Without-”
Popovich raised his hand to command silence, a gesture that was very familiar to Danny. “Danny, you have nobody to thank but yourself. Through five games, you are the consensus Finals MVP. Your achievements are yours and yours alone. You have drunk deep from the fountain of wisdom, but the fountain of greatness, you bypassed…for the waters of that fountain were already present within you.”