Pascal Siakam walked into the locker room. It was, as he expected, empty. He had many teammates who would show up early to practice, but none of them showed up four hours early. Leisurely changing into his game jersey, Pascal began his mental preparations for the upcoming game. Without the distractions of teammates, he was able to enter into a mind-space where outside influences didn’t exist, where pressure didn’t exist, where the only thing that existed was him, his teammates, and the basketball.
In the middle of this meditation, Pascal got the strange feeling that he was not alone in the locker room after all. Had one of his fellow early-arriving teammates shown up, and, seeing Pascal in his meditative state, gone about his game preparations quietly? Whatever the situation beyond his eyelids might be, the meditation was broken, and Pascal decided to open his eyes. What he saw was completely unexpected.
Standing a proud seven feet, Chris Bosh nodded happily. “Yep. I wanted to pay you a visit.”
Faced with one of the Raptors’ all-time greats, Pascal barely knew how to respond. “Uh, congrats on the championships.”
Chris waved his hand as if he didn’t care one bit about the championships he had won. “Forget the championships. We’re not here for me. We’re here for you.”
“Stand up, man, stand up, let me size you up,” Chris said, pulling Pascal to his feet. For some reason, Pascal thought that they were about to get into a fistfight, but that wasn’t what happened. Not right away, anyway. “Come over this way,” Chris continued. Wondering what was going on, Pascal allowed himself to be led to the center of the locker room.
There, Chris put his hands on Pascal’s shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. “Don’t panic. This is all planned out.” he said, and Pascal’s natural reaction, of course, was to become slightly nervous and panicky. What was going on?
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light which blinded Pascal’s eyes. At the same time, a jolt of pure energy ran through his shoulders up to his brain and down the entire length of his spine. It wasn’t painful, exactly, just an extremely foreign sensation that couldn’t be compared to any earthly feeling. But it only lasted a moment, and then it was over.
It took a few seconds for Pascal’s eyes to readjust, but when they did, he noticed that Chris was no longer standing there. He looked around the locker room, but Chris wasn’t anywhere in sight, even when Pascal looked around corners and behind walls. When he walked back to the main locker room area, he noticed a lone pair of sneakers sitting where the ex-Raptors had been standing. They were Chris’ sneakers. But where had Chris gone?
“Our souls are now one,” answered a voice inside Pascal’s head, causing him to jump. “And I feel like we’re gonna make a pretty good team tonight.”
In that empty locker room, hours before tipoff, Pascal nodded. They would make a very good team indeed.