Devonte’ Graham walked home after a solo training session at the Hornets’ practice facility. His condo was just a few blocks away, and he liked it that way. There was never an excuse not to hit the gym and get some weight training in, or to step on the court for a couple hours of shooting drills. While his teammates moaned about 45-minute commutes, Devonte’ was able to get in exactly as much work as he wanted, when he wanted.
He became aware of a van pulling up next to him. It wasn’t uncommon for him to get recognized on the street (he was, after all, the Hornets’ most dynamic young player, in his own not-so-humble opinion), but motorists never stopped to chat with him. Especially not motorists driving beat-up white vans that were driving on the wrong side of the street (luckily a street with almost no traffic).
The tinted window rolled down, allowing Devonte’ to see that a familiar face was at the wheel.
“Hey Devonte’, you wanna help me film Space Jam 3?”
Devonte’ had gotten used to Michael Jordan’s presence around the Hornets, but he still felt starstruck every time they spoke one-on-one. However, MJ’s request was so strange and unexpected that Devonte’ skipped the “starstruck” stage and went straight to “confusion”. “But Space Jam 2 isn’t even in theaters yet,” was his reply.
“If MJ decides that he wants to star in Space Jam 3, you think any studios are turning that offer down?”
“I guess not,” Devonte’ conceded. Already his mind was showing him visions of walking down the red carpet with a beautiful woman by his side and film-studio execs offering him movie deals that would guarantee a comfortable life once his basketball career ended.
Michael beckoned to the back of the van. “Hop in, man, we can squeeze you in with the rest of the guys.”
Opening the sliding side door of the van, Devonte’ got into the back seat, which was surprisingly empty. “Uh, you said ‘the guys’ but I’m the only one back here.”
Michael turned around with a surprised look on his face. “Oh. I guess all the cameramen are on set already. More room for you to spread out, then,” he said with a laugh. “Make sure you buckle up. I like to drive a bit fast and we gotta make sure you get there in one piece.”
Devonte’ obediently buckled up, and his did so, he thought he heard Michael whisper, “I need Devonte’…I need him so bad,” which made Devonte’ smile. It was gratifying that his presence was apparently so vital to the movie’s success.
Devonte’ got out of the van and looked around. They were in the middle of an industrial park, at a warehouse that didn’t seem like a movie set at all. Then again, a confidential project like Space Jam 3 would take great pains to hide its presence. On the ride over, Michael hadn’t given him much in the way of a plot synopsis (“can’t have any leaks”, Michael had explained), but had assured Devonte’ that his role in Space Jam 3 would be at least as big as Muggsy Bogues’ role in the original Space Jam had been.
“Quick, inside before anyone sees,” Michael said, confirming Devonte’s idea that the existence of a Space Jam 3 was a closely-guarded secret.
When Devonte’ stepped into the dim warehouse, it took his eyes a few seconds to adjust from the bright daylight outside. When he could clearly see again, it surprised him how empty it was. The only other people he could see were the two security guards standing on either side of the door that they had just walked through. And there was only one thing of note in the entire place, a giant glass globe standing in the middle of the wide expanse of concrete floor. A metal column with an orb perched on top of it rose through the middle of the globe.
“Check this out!” Michael said, running up to it and hitting a switch on a nearby control panel. Immediately, filaments of plasma, in hues of neon pink and purple, burst from the central metal orb to touch the glass. It was like a
“Pretty cool, huh?”
“I guess,” Devonte’ replied, raising his voice to a yell in order to be heard by the man who was now fifty feet away from him. “But I don’t get what it has to do with Space Jam 3.”
Michael abruptly turned off the plasma globe and walked back to where Devonte’ stood. Devonte’ was afraid that he had insulted the legend in some way, but when he opened his mouth to apologize, he was cut off.
“It has nothing to do with Space Jam 3,” Michael began in a low voice. “Because there is no Space Jam 3.”
“I’m going to put you in my plasmasphere, and I’m going to extract the life-force plasma from your supple young body, and I’m going to use it to revive my body,” Michael said with no trace of humor. “Guards, seize him!”
Devonte’ was only able to run a few steps when he was grabbed by two very strong pairs of hands and dragged towards the sinister sphere that would be his demise.