Sunday, April 7th, 2002
"The playoffs are coming! The playoffs are coming!" yelled NBA Commissioner
David Stern as he raced throughout the NBA offices in his brand new comfy
"Summon the Nets! Summon the Pistons! Summon the Celtics! Tell them to prepare
for battle!" screamed Stern. "Summon the Kings! Summon the Mavericks! Summon
the Lakers, Spurs, T-Wolves, and Blazers!" he screamed again. "Tell them
to prepare for battle!"
"Get me Lieutenant Carter!" says Commissioner Stern to one of his secretaries.
The secretary gets a cell phone, dials a number, and hands the phone to
Commissioner Stern. We can only hear Stern's end of the conversation.
"Lieutenant Carter ... yes, this is Commissioner Stern. Vince, you're team
is right on the fence of going to war in the postseason. You either tell
your boys to shape up, win some games, and go off to war, or take their sorry
butts home, a failure to the people of Toronto! ... Yes ... yes ... well,
do it, then! ... Goodbye."
"Get me Lieutenant Miller!" says Commissioner Stern once again. The secretary
rushes over with another cell phone.
"Lieutenant Miller ... yes, this is Commissioner Stern... I am fine, but
I'm not too sure how your squad is right about now, Lieutenant Miller. Listen,
Reggie, you need to tell your team that if they don't get their act together
soon, you all will be going home rather than fighting a battle worth fighting
this postseason, and they will be big disappointments to the people of Indiana,
I tell you ... okay, I better see results! Goodbye."
"Get me Lieutenants Payton and Malone on conference call!" barks Stern.
The secretary arrives with a NEXTEL phone.
"Uh, hello?" grumbles a deep-voiced older man.
"Talk to me!" peeps a fast-talking man.
"Gentlemen! This is Commissioner Stern! I am reaching you to let you both
know that you need to get your teams' acts together, and secure playoff sports
this postseason! I do not want those god-damned Clippers going to
battle for me! Sergeant Sterling has all but sent his men into a suicide
mission with his antics. If they reach the postseason, who knows what will
happen? Sergeant Sterling already fined one of his top recruits, Private
"No problem, boss," grumbles the deep-voiced older man.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Malone," replies Stern.
"You got it, Commish!" yaps the fast-talking man.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Payton."
Commissioner Stern throws the NEXTEL out the door, and throws his head into
"This is going to be interesting. That army from the West sure seems dominant.
They've got all the heavy hitters and top artillery. Over in the East, that
army is going to have to rely on strategy ... and well, luck to escape as
champions! Whoever gets there, that is," the Commissioner ponders.
*** Scene switches to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, inside the Milwaukee Bucks'
locker room ***
A man, presumably the General, paces back in forth in front of his army of
"Do you honestly think these guys are better than you?" yells the General.
"No, sir, we are just really hurting with the injuries out there," steps
up one soldier.
"Do you really think I give a damn about injuries? Private Allen is not our
whole team. Private Redd is not our whole team. I don't care if you all have
one leg and one eye, you all will go out there and fight! You will not give
up! ... right now, you are all giving up! We're 3-7 in our last ten games,
for crying out loud!" screams the General. "Now, who the hell is going to
step up and lead us into our first battle of the postseason?"
"... I am. I am, General Karl," says a hurting young man.
"... You are, Private Allen? You are? ... Well, then it seems as though we've
got a leader, men. Now, let's go out there these last few games and show
the other armies just what the hell the Milwaukee Bucks are made of!" yells
The players erupt in unison. They storm out to the court for the night's
*** Scene switches to Boston, Massachusetts, inside the Boston Celtics'
locker room. ***
A skinny, graying Irish man, presumably the General of the army, has just
walked into the locker room, where his players are sitting around, celebrating.
"Good job out there tonight, guys. Now we've got to get going, look at some
tape and study our next opponent," says The General.
"General, we just qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven
years! Can't we celebrate a bit before we get back to work," questions one
of the army's leaders.
"Lieutenant Pierce, you have got to understand this ... we may be back in
the playoffs, but just being back in is not good enough for me, nor should
it be good enough for all of you. We're in the postseason to take on some
of the best armies in the East, and if we can defeat those armies, we will
face the best army from the West. That is what it is all about. Not just
making it to the dance ... but becoming the dance kings!" charges the General.
"Yeah! Let's do this, fellas!" says another leader of the army.
The team storms out of the locker room and into the training facility for
preparations for the next night's game.
*** Scene switches to Los Angeles, California, inside the Los Angeles
Lakers locker room ***
The team is loading onto their bus. The final man to get on the bus is a
middle-aged philosophical man, the General of their team.
"All right, men, get some sleep on the bus now, because soon we'll be out
on the floor practicing for the playoffs," says the General.
"Now, I know some of you are hurting right now ..." continues the General.
"Yeah, General Jackson! I am!" barks a huge, hulking man.
"I know you are, Lieutenant O'Neal. Just get healthy ... all of you, get
healthy. We cannot head into battle limping and not at full-strength," says
*** Scene switches back to the NBA offices, and Commissioner Stern's office
"Boy, I hope those armies are ready to fight ... because I have a feeling
this one's going to be crazy," says the Commissioner has he thinks aloud.
The sun goes down on another day in the closing days of the NBA regular season.
Soon, there will be many battles to decide who is the best army the NBA had
to offer that season. When the dust settles, one team will remain. Right
now, we have no idea whom that team will be.
This is war. This is the NBA.