Back from Spain, Anthony Davis awoke with an unsettling feeling. His gold medal was still around his neck, but the more he thought about the upcoming NBA season the more he began to worry. Deep down, despite what Coach K said, he knew: basketball could never be the same ever again for him, not unless he had a Manimal by his side.
He slinked out of bed and down the hall and out into the street. He walked down the sidewalk until he arrived at the bus stop. When the bus pulled up and opened its doors, he asked the driver, “Sir, have you seen my Manimal?”
The driver looked at him like he was strange and said, “Son, you got a problem.”
He walked to Starbucks for a coffee. When they asked for his name, he told them, “Just Ken.” And so when it was ready, the barista yelled, “Ken!” But he didn’t respond, hoping someone else—someone emphatic—would come and claim the unclaimed coffee. But no one did.
Later in the day, he ordered a sandwich from Subway and took it to the park, hoping its tantalizing length might attract a Manimal. But the only creatures to gather round his feet were squirrels and pigeons.
After eating in the park, he went to the aquarium, but all he found were sad, sad whales. After a while, he hummed along, not knowing what they were missing but knowing he missed his Manimal.
When the aquarium closed, he went to the bowling alley and then to the movie theatre. And still found nothing. And, as the night came to a close, he stopped by his neighborhood bar. The Muppets were performing. During a break in their set, he asked their manager Jason Siegel if he could talk to the drummer. Jason Siegel said, “Yes,” because Jason Siegel’s a nice dude. A nd so Anthony Davis walked up to the crazy rock drummer and asked, “Are you my Manimal?” But the crazy rocker drummer just yelled, “Animal! Drum! Drum! Animal! Drum!”
Not finding what he was looking for once again, Anthony drove out to the edge of the southern wild—its woods and its swamps—and he howled for something gone but not forgotten. In the distance, he thought he heard something. He leaned into the moonlight. Was it an echo? Was it a dog? Could it be? Would he ever, ever know?
The next day practice started. He passed a man in a bird costume on the way through the door, pausing just long enough to stare into its wild Pelican eyes and say: “Are you—oh, never mind. That’s ridiculous.”