Carmelo Anthony was walking through a narrow alley in a bid to find a quicker route to his parked car. He knew that it wasn’t a good idea to take a solitary walk through an unfamiliar area at night, but he was big enough that nobody would mess with him. Hopefully.
The distant streetlight at the end of the alley didn’t provide much light, and Carmelo was startled when he stumbled over something large that was lying right in his path. He immediately got in a self-defense stance with his fists brandished, but when he looked down and saw that the thing he had tripped over was just a sleeping homeless man, he lowered his arms. The man hadn’t even woken up.
Strangely, Carmelo was entranced by the man, and he didn’t keep walking to his car even though there was no reason to stick around. The man’s hair was white and wild, as was his beard. He was wearing some kind of robe that evidently was keeping him warm enough without any extra blankets. Carmelo thought that was an odd choice of attire. Unless…
Unless this slumbering homeless man was actually an extremely powerful wizard. A wizard who could sleep anywhere he wanted because he had nothing to fear from feeble mortals who could not control forces of elemental magic the way he could.
Feeling his heart beating faster, Carmelo looked around for the wizard’s possessions. Against the brick wall of a building he found them, a shopping cart full of bags. Knowing that any thefts could be punished by magic spells cast by an accomplished sorcerer, Carmelo rifled through the bags looking for a magic artifact to take. His hand seizing around what appeared to be a plain black hoodie, but what was actually a garment infused with unknowable magical properties, Carmelo yanked it from its place and tucked it under his arm.
The noise of this caused the wizard to awaken and sit up. “Hey! That’s mine!” he shouted, accurately using his supernatural powers of mind-reading to ascertain what had just taken place, but Carmelo was already sprinting away.
Carmelo was working on his shot in the gym, and he couldn’t miss.
Cocooned in that worn-out black hoodie, shot after shot went in. Nothing but net each and every time. Swish. Swish. Swish. His trainers nervously laughed each time Carmelo went further beyond the three-point line, but the distance didn’t matter. Swish. Swish. Swish.
During a break, one of his trainers, a young man named Chris, approached him. “Man, that hoodie’s gotta be magic or something! Your jumper is automatic!”
Carmelo took a sip of his Gatorade. “I stole it from a real life wizard, so it better be magic.”
This statement evidently confused Chris greatly. “Wizard? Like in Harry Potter?”
“Well, not exactly, but, yeah, that’s the general idea.”
Chris looked hesitant to say his next words. “Listen, Melo, I’m all about superstitions and ritualized routines and stuff, but…man, wizards don’t exist. That’s just a normal hoodie.”
“No way,” Carmelo immediately retorted. “It’s a magic hoodie.”
“Does it feel magic?”
Carmelo thought about the feel of the fabric against his skin. It didn’t feel any different from any of the other hoodies he had in his closet. “No, but a well-crafted magical item would bestow its wearer with powers in a way that would be undetectable to any outside observer or even the wearer himself,” he answered, but even has he said this, he found himself wishing that the hoodie had, like, bolts of lightning flowing through it to prove that it really was ensorcelled by cryptic wizardry.
“Fine, believe whatever you want,” Chris said. “Let’s get back to the grind.”
But doubts were creeping into Carmelo’s mind. What if Chris was right and his magic hoodie wasn’t magic at all? Surprisingly, this thought actually helped put Carmelo at ease. If the hoodie was just a normal hobo hoodie, then Carmelo’s superhumanly-accurate jumpshot was his own and couldn’t be attributed to sorcerous forces. And when he got back on the court, he was mildly surprised to find that his jumper was just as wet as ever. Swish. Swish. Swish.
Suddenly, the doors of the gym burst open, revealing a very disheveled-looking man in a robe standing tall and proud. “RETURN MY MAGIC VESTMENT AT ONCE, PRETENDER!” he bellowed.
“Nah,” was Carmelo’s simple reply.
The wizard withdrew a staff from his robe and pointed it at Carmelo, unleashing a stream of blue light. With no time to react, Carmelo felt the magic spell hit him right in the chest, but to his surprise, the light beam bounced back to its caster. Struck by his own spell, the wizard was thrown back against a cinderblock wall. The force of the impact caused him to crumple to the ground, where he didn’t move.
Carmelo stood there in shock. The hoodie had saved him, proving that he was its rightful owner.
Chris cautiously walked up behind him. “Sorry I didn’t believe you. You were right. That hoodie really is magic.”