Occupy Wall Street: NBA Lockout Edition
The following is a fictional account of last week’s breakdown between NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA owners, and the Players’ Union, in which Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade are rumored to have hijacked a possible deal:
Mr. Stern could hear the protestors outside yelling about percentages, banks, and tyranny, and the sun setting in his office window made him wonder out loud if this was the end of something: the day, his employment, his status, his wealth, peace and prosperity, maybe even the tenets of capitalism.
He pinched the bridge of his nose, just underneath his glasses, for relief.
“I don’t think this is going to blow over,” he said. “That kind of anger,” he gestured towards the window, “doesn’t just blow over. . . unless it blows over the way a wild fire blows over.”
“Look, Stern, baby, there’s gotta be some compromise,” spoke one of the protest leaders. Stern didn’t know his name; none of them had names. Maybe it was Billy or Bobby or Hunter. “We’ve been here before, and I know your number can be lowered.”
Stern had no clue what to call the man, even if they had been here before. He wasn’t a peer or a friend; he was a roadblock. Stern moved towards the window, the failing light turning the gray of his hair silver. He closed the curtain, turned his back on the protestors and their handmade signs, and leaned against the width of the window sill. “I would, but the shareholders won’t let me. They’ve got long term concerns, and they think what’s out there can’t be sustained.”
“And you believe ‘em?”
“Doesn’t matter what I think? My job is to make them happy.”
“Look, Stern,” the man’s hands were open and pleading now, his lifelines like deep, desperate canyons that made Stern lose respect for him. “How ’bout fifty-fifty. No body wants it, but it makes sense–they sweat, you pay, it all comes out even.”
“Fifty-fifty?” Stern wrote the number down on a legal pad. Fifty was a big number, one of those half full-half empty sort of numbers, in math they taught you to round up. Fifty percent rounded up.
“I know you’re thinkin’ about it,” said Billy? Bobby? Hunter?
The man with a question mark for a name walked to the window, peeked behind the curtain. “That out there, that’ll blow over. Shit, they can’t picket forever. Who can picket forever?”
Stern didn’t have an answer, didn’t want to have an answer. He stared at the two matching percentages on the paper. A five next to a zero, next to a five next to a zero. The two percentages were identical, but they felt like those mismatched faces of Greek theatre, one smiling, one frowning.
“Let me go get the boys. We can draw this up tonight. . . be back to work by morning. . . like nothin’ ever happened.” He walked to the door and called in a panel of broad-shouldered men–the working class–and Stern didn’t recognize a single one: These couldn’t be the hardliners he was negotiating against. These men were middle of the pack; they weren’t leaders; he would recognize a leader. “Boys, we’ve got the start of something.”
They all smiled, patted each other on the back. A pasty redhead reached out his right arm towards Stern when the sound of glass shattered behind them all. Men ducked, scampering behind office ferns and leather chairs like boys playing hide and go seek, but Stern didn’t duck or run: He stood there violent flames breathing heat on his forehead, causing his skin to dampen with sweat. He lifted one arm, noticed the sparks glowing from the threads of his gray suit, and blew on them one by one, causing them to flare up and fade away.
Outside, someone yelled, “Awwwww, shit, Wade! Nice throw! Motherfuckers gonna take us serious now!” And then the voice got lost in the flames.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook
- 10 Shaq Confident He Will Eventually Make Funny Quip on TNT