The first thing that Cartier Martin noticed when he awoke is that he no longer was able to move his limbs. Looking down, he could see that he was strapped to some kind of table, a far cry from his comfy bed at home.
“Looks like our visitor has awakened, fellas,” said a voice from behind Cartier’s head. He tried to roll his eyes back to see the speaker, but the owner of the voice was out of eyeshot.
“Let me go man. Whatever you want from me, I don’t have it,” Cartier said, failing to keep his voice level.
David Stern appeared at Cartier’s side. “We don’t want anything from you, Cartier. In fact, we simply want to give something to you. Isn’t that right, Adam?” Adam Silver stepped from behind Cartier’s head to Stern’s side.
“That’s right commissioner. Just a little present for our friend Mr. Martin,” Silver said, pulling a crowbar from behind his back. There was chuckling from unseen figures around him.
“Yo, man, what are you doing with that thing!?” Cartier exclaimed, immediately realizing that the tool was not going to be used for prying open doors.
Stern lowered his face to be directly in front of Cartier’s. “Here’s the thing, scumbag. We need marketable players. With you being the most-played bench player for the Hawks, well, it’s not making us any money.”
“Money makes the world go ’round, Cartier,” Silver interjected, idly swinging the crowbar from side to side.
Stern was so close that spittle flecked Cartier’s face whenever he talked. “Exactly. Nobody cares about some black kid from the hood who can hit threes. With you sidelined due to injury, say, a “knee contusion”, we will be in better position to establish Pero Antic as your replacement, and extract more money from the Macedonian market.”
Cartier stared in disbelief. “Monsters. The NBA is run by monsters.”
Stern laughed. “Nobody ever said it wasn’t, Cartier.” He motioned to his deputy commissioner. “Commence the treatment.”