Andrew Wiggins was training hard. It was almost like a Gatorade commercial; his body sheened with sweat, his face a mask of concentration, his muscles exerted to their limit. He was upset with the start of his rookie year. The only solution? Hard work. He needed no trainers. What could they offer him? Words of encouragement? His drive to succeed came from inside himself, not from the puffery of some roided-up buffoon.
As he finished the last set of box jumps, he began to feel woozy. He had gotten into a zone, and now that he was out of it, he realized he had pushed himself too far this time. He staggered a bit, heading for the exit, but before he could get there, he collapsed.
He woke up with a start, and arose. The exercise facility had changed. The items in the room were the same, but the atmosphere was totally wrong. Replacing the Kanye album he had been listening to was the theme from Space Jam. Instead of Timberwolves logos adorning the walls, there was Bulls memorabilia.
Behind him, there was a sound of someone clearing their throat. Wiggins turned, and gasped.
“Man, I saw how hard you were training, and I just had to intervene. What were you thinking, going with no trainer? Those guys might be annoying suckups but they do serve a purpose, namely, keeping you from injuring yourself too badly. Anyway, I’m impressed.”
“MJ? Michael Jordan? What are you doing here? Is this real life?”
“Who is to say what is real and what is not? Though, by your definition, no, this is not real life.” Michael Jordan, looking just as he had in his playing days, was smiling.
“I thought stuff like this was only supposed to happen with dead people, but you ain’t dead yet!”
“You haven’t heard the news?”
“Never mind. I just wanted to make my first visitation special. I could have visited LeBron, or even Kobe, but those stuck-up jerkoffs care not for what I have to say. Such presumptuousness! I created them, and they don’t know how easily I could destroy them. But you, Andrew, you’re different. More malleable. So I know you will take these words of advice seriously.”
“Do I really want advice from the guy who drove the Bobcats into the ground?”
Jordan was no longer smiling. “Don’t test me, Andrew. Now listen carefully, I’m only going to tell you this once. The secret to basketball success.”
Wiggins, stung by the rebuke from his idol, leaned forward eagerly. “My bad, my bad, I was just playin’. My ears are open.”
“Dunk it?” Wiggins sounded confused.
“Every chance you get. Always be trying to dunk the ball. You can shoot some jumpers if its obvious that the defense won’t let you dunk it. Otherwise, dunk the fucker.”
Wiggins woke for the second time. Things had returned to normal, and there was no one, real or imagined, with him. But now he felt a new presence, a new force inside him that had not been there before. He would not be alone again.