To: Mrs. Anucha Browne Sanders
RE: OMG! How soon can we start production?!!
I’m glad to hear you’re onboard with this project. I’ll have a script ready for you ASAP. In regards to your other question, no I don’t have any photos of Chandler Parsons shirtless.
Here’s a treatment of the story:
Derek Fisher walked down the stairs into the dark basement. Each stair creaked and sagged under his feet. He could smell dust and decay in the air. When he reached the bottom he pulled down several cobwebs before finding the light switch and flicking it on. A few bulbs scattered across the ceiling flickered to life. Their dim light revealed an abandoned arcade.
Games like Street Fighter, The Simpsons, and Maximum Force lined the walls. A pool table covered by a tarp sat in the middle of the room. “Is there a dead body under there?” Fisher thought to himself. “Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of Bones.” Here underneath Cassell’s, generally thought to be Houston’s worst pizzeria, in a long forgotten arcade, Fisher was planning something big. This was his Ari Gold-Hamburger Hamlet. Nobody would be caught dead here.
He ripped the tarp off the pool table throwing a mushroom cloud of dust into the air. “No dead body, thank God.”
In the corner, he noticed an old-school Pop-a-Shot machine. He walked closer to it and saw a single ball left in the rack. “Unfinished business,” he thought. As he stood there thinking about picking up the ball and taking that final shot, he heard stairs creak.
The ceiling in the stair well was quite low. Stooping underneath it was Rasheed Wallace. The two men walked toward each other and shook hands. “How you doing, ‘Sheed?”
“Same old, same old, Fish. They wouldn’t let me in the 3-point contest again. Cowards. They’re scared of me. They know I’ve done nothing but shoot threes since 2005.”
“Sorry man. Maybe next year,” Fisher replied.
“We’ll see. I tried to convince Stern to let me in that Shooting Stars thing. I told him ‘Team Sheed’ has a nice ring to it, but he said Maya Moore was afraid of me. Something about ‘crazy eyes.’”
“Well we’re going to need those crazy, indignant eyes of yours before this is over.”
“So you got a plan?” Wallace inquired.
“Yes I do,” Fisher responded confidently.
“Well lay it on me, man,” said Wallace.
“Let’s wait ‘til everybody gets here.”
“You’ll see,” Fisher said with a wry smile.
The next to arrive was Chandler Parsons. Accompanying Parsons down the stairs were six twentysomething women in heels.
“Parsons! Who are these chicks?” Fisher snapped.
“My bad Mr. Fisher. I parked a few blocks away, just like you said. These women ran out of a shoe store and just started following me. I don’t know who they are.”
“Well get rid of ‘em!”
“Yes sir. Right away sir.” Parsons proceeded to take pictures with every girl individually as well as one big group shot with Rasheed playing iPhone photographer. As they shuffled up the stairs giggling loudly, they nearly ran over Gordon Hayward, who was lugging several high-tech cases.
“Who were those girls?” Hayward said excitedly. “Where are they going?”
“I really don’t know, but they wanna buy me dinner later apparently,” Parsons responded. Hayward mumbled something snarky and bitter under his breath as he began to unload his gear onto the pool table. While he set up an impressive array of monitors, servers, and transmitters, Kyrie Irving sauntered into the arcade.
He greeted Fisher and Rasheed and thanked them for including him. Fisher replied, “I’m counting on you Saturday night, young man. You gotta win or this whole plan falls apart. You have a strategy?”
“Yeah,” Irving replied. “Just make buckets.”
“Uncle Drew is in town too, right?” Fisher asked.
“Yeah he’s close by.”
Fisher then began showing them different blueprints and schematics. A few minutes later, J.J. Barea and Andrei Kirilenko showed up.
Kirilenko walked over to the group and said in his best Tony Montana, “Say hello to my little friend.” The group chuckled in unison, but Barea was not amused. He jumped onto Kirilenko’s back and put him in a rear naked choke that would have made Royce Gracie proud. Kirilenko tried to fight it, but eventually staggered to the floor and tapped out. Barea hopped up with a defiant look on his face. He dusted off his hands and gave Andrei the two finger “I’m watching you” signal.
Next to arrive were the Hansbrough brothers, Tyler and Ben. While the rest of the group members were wearing suits or casual wear from the Joakim Noah collection, Tyler and Ben were in full Indiana Pacers warmups. They both had Beats by Dre headphones wrapped around the back of their necks, and were blarring Three 6 Mafia at full volume. Just the way God intended. Form the back Rasheed shouted, “How you doing, Psycho T?”
Spontaneously, the brothers replied,“Inside peanut butter, outside jellllyyy.” They looked at each other and did a chest bump, then their bags down and began stretching. At that moment, Fisher’s cell phone began to ring. He answered.
“Hello…yeah everyone’s here…no we’re gonna get him on Skype…no we can’t do a Google Hangout…Because I don’t have a Gmail account…I’m not going to argue with you about Google+ again…are you coming…okay see you in a second.”
Fisher looked at Hayward. “Are we all set up?”
“Yeah we’re good to go. You know all this dust isn’t great for my equipment,” Hayward retorted.
“You can buy better stuff when this is over.” To the group he said, “Everybody come on over, we’re just waiting on one more guy.” As the they all gathered together, the steps once again started to creak. This time the steps were slower. A loud sneeze came from the unknown figure.
“Derek, I know we said out of the way, but I didn’t mean Galveston. I’ve been mausoleums with better ventilation.” NBA Commissioner David Stern strode into the light. “Hey fellas.”
As the rest of the group stared in silence, Fisher shook Stern’s hand and thanked him for coming. “It’s the least I could do,” said Stern. “Where’s Earvin?”
“I’m here,” said a voice over the speakers. A projector started up and suddenly Magic Johnson’s face appeared on the wall in front of them. He looked to be on private plane. “Sorry I couldn’t be there guys. Adrian Gonzalez is having a birthday party for his cat, so I had to take the jet. Gotta babysit these big contracts, you know. I’ll be back soon. Fish, what’s up with the Skype man. Google Hangouts are-“
Fisher cut him off, “Thank you Magic for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be a part of this. By the way, they ran out of popcorn butter at one of your theaters last week when I went to see Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Thought you should know.” He turned and addressed the group. I’ve gathered you gentlemen here for one purpose: taking down Billy Hunter. As you know, Billy is currently suspended indefinitely from the union. While that is a great first step, it won’t enough to convince the player reps to vote him out completely. To do that, we’ll need proof of some serious misdeeds. A few months ago, we discovered that Mr. Hunter had siphoned nearly $20 million in cash from our pension fund over the last ten years.” Gasps and profanity spilled from the group.
For some reason, ‘Sheed shouted, “Ball don’t lie.”
Fisher continued, “Gordon discovered the accounting discrepancies a few months ago while servicing my MacBook Pro. Computer Science at Butler is a real degree apparently. So while I’m glad Billy is out as head of the Union, he knows we’re onto him about the money. Right now, there’s nothing to keep him from moving the cash offshore and destroying all the records. So we have to move fast.” Fisher took a Marco Rubio-size sip of water. “Hunter has an office here in Houston and because he’s got big brass balls, he’s decided to spend All-Star weekend here. Our source in his office has told us that he emptied his bank accounts the day he was suspended from the union and put all the siphoned cash and accounting records in his safe. He’s got an armored transport and a private plane scheduled for Sunday morning. That means we have very little time to get in, get the money and records, and get out without being detected.”
Hayward interrupted, “Who is our source in Hunter’s office?”
“I wanna say her name is Monica, but it might be Haley,” Parsons replied. “I can’t be sure. She’s blonde. I know that.” Hayward just shook his head dejectedly.
“Despite having a good source on the inside, Hunter is a paranoid guy. His office security system is top of the line. Our plan is to break in and get the money and records during All-Star Saturday Night.”
CUT TO: All-Star Saturday Night
The plan was going perfectly. Kyrie Irving, to the chagrin of the internet, bested Matt Bonner in the 3-point Shootout. After accepting his trophy, he walked off the court down the corridor towards the locker room. As he turned the corner, Billy Hunter emerged out of the shadows. Grinning from ear to ear like Don King after a Tyson fight, Hunter stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations son. That was a helluva show you put on.” Irving shook his hand reluctantly. “Let me see that trophy,” Hunter said as he clasped his hands around it. “Boy that’s beautiful. Just beautiful.” He handed the trophy back to Kyrie like a politician handing back a freshly-kissed baby.
“3-point trophy, forever unclean!” Kyrie thought to himself. He watched Hunter walk away then dialed his cell phone. “Hey it’s Kyrie. I’ve got his fingerprint.” Outside the arena, Irving stepped into a black limousine driven by Tyler Hansbrough. Mystikal was bumping. Loudly.
As Irving changed clothes, Ben Hansbrough lifted the fingerprint off the trophy. The whole ride, the brothers, who were still in full Pacers gear, rapped, “Shake it fast. Watch yourself! Shake it fast. Show me what you’re working with.”
The limo dropped Uncle Drew off around the block from Hunter’s office. He walked towards the front door where a security guard was stationed. He asked the guard, “Son could you help an old man? I think I’m lost.” No sooner had the guard turned toward him than J.J. Barea jumped him from behind and put him in a sleeper hold. With the guard unconscious, Uncle Drew used the lifted finger print to unlock the front door. Kirilenko and Barea dragged the guard inside.
“Good work, young man,” said Fisher as he walked through the doors into the lobby. “Alright guys, Chandler’s girl says the safe is upstairs in the corner office. Let’s get the gear up there.” Fisher dialed his cell.
Back in the arcade, which Hayward had named the Command Center, Stern answered his phone. He listened for a few moments and then hung up. “They’re in,” he said. “Tell Magic and Rasheed to get the player reps together.”
At the Toyota Center, Magic Johnson used all the charm and respect he’d earned over the years to get every Union player rep in attendance at the All-Star game into the owner’s box. The players there, including Chris Paul and LeBron James, had big time appearances to make that night, but they trusted when Magic said it was for the good of the union. They waited in front of a TV with a blank screen.
The hallway leading to Hunter’s office was guarded by a laser grid. J.J. Barea made short work of it, getting through it with a series of contortions and gymnastic maneuvers. It was like that scene from Entrapment minus all the sexy. On the other side, he used Hunter’s fingerprint to disable the lasers. Fisher, Uncle Drew, and Kirilenko made their way into the office, lugging several duffel bags of gear. They located the large safe, which was hidden behind a picture of Hunter looking like Sampson from Half Baked. Kirilenko began drilling.
Back at the Toyota Center, the player reps were getting restless. Matt Bonner tried to leave, but waiting for him just outside was Rasheed and his crazy eyes. The Red Rocket immediately backed down. Magic pleaded for everyone to wait just a few more minutes. Rasheed crossed him arms and stood in front of the door. Like a boss.
In the Command Center, Stern said to Hayward, “I’m getting to old for this. I’m glad I’m retiring.” He sipped something out of a water bottle nervously. It wasn’t water. He continued, “Nobody knows this, but Silver is actually older than I am.” He glanced at Hayward with that quintessential getting-booed-at-the-draft smile. “That stays between you and me.”
Back in Hunter’s office, Kirilenko had finished drilling and was opening the combination lock. He turned to the final number and a loud click rang through the expansive office. “Here you go boss,” he said to Fisher. Fisher donned a pair of black horn rimmed glasses that Hayward had given him. He stepped over to the safe and swung open the door. The safe was completely empty expect for a small tablet computer. Bewildered, Fisher picked it up. He turned it on, and Billy Hunter’s face appeared on screen. Hunter sipped some champagne, smiled, and said, “Hey Fish, how you doing, man?” Fisher was frozen. “I like those specs. Are those your special burglary glasses?” Hunter took another loathsome sip of champagne. “I’m sure you’re confused about why this safe is empty. Well I got wise to your little scheme, so I decided to take my trip a little early. All the money I took from the pension fund is going to be very cozy in my Caribbean bank account. And as for the paper trail, I think I’m going to have a nice little bonfire on the beach tonight. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back soon. I’ll beg forgiveness from the union and pledge to do better. They’ll decide to keep me around. You on the other hand, Fish. You’re retired. Don’t think you’ll get to be president much longer. If I knew the meaning of the word ‘Sorry’, I’m sure that’s how I would feel right. You win some, you lose some, my friend. This time you lost.”
Fisher stared into the tablet’s camera for a long moment. Then he said, “Magic, did you get that?”
Magic appeared on the tablet screen, standing in front of all the player reps. He replied, “Yeah Fish, we heard you loud and clear. Told you the Google Hangout was better.”
“When you’re right, you’re right.” Fisher pointed to the bridge of his glasses, and said, “I’m glad you like my specs Billy. Gordon hooked ‘em up. They have a camera and a microphone right here. Everybody just heard everything you said. The money, the pension, the whole shabangabang. I’m sorry Mr. Hunter, but your services are no longer required.” Somewhere in the Caribbean, Hunter threw his iPad against a wall.
The player reps unanimously voted out Hunter that night. On Sunday, Fisher’s Eleven watched one of their own, Kyrie Irving, play in his first, but certainly not last All Star Game. Kirilenko cried tears of joy. Fisher and Stern shook hands like old friends. Hayward realized he was a twenty-two year old millionaire and found himself a dinner date. All was right in the NBA once again.
The End Credits roll as the Hansbrough brothers do all 14 minutes and 37 seconds of “Rapper’s Delight”.