The Bubbachuck Papers, Vol. 2

I had never been thought of as an effective defensive player. I was slow, a poor jumper, and wasn’t extremely disciplined (unlike now). But the competition of this summer league (the Boo Williams league) was so good that I knew that I would never leave my mark on offense. So I started taking defense seriously, and actually shut down some pretty good players. Finally, my team went up against AI’s team (which also counted future Sixer Joe Smith as a member). I started the game on the bench, as always. Iverson started hot. Nobody could stop him. My coach told me to go into the game. I nervously walked onto the court. “I got Bubbachuck,” I told my teammates.

(Bubbachuck was what everybody called AI in Virginia.) I saw one of them glance at another one as if to say, “Has he lost his mind?” But team leader (and Tim Duncan’s future point guard at Wake Forest) Tony Rutland said, “Naw, it’s kool.” So with that, I stuck AI. Now, defense is not really taken seriously in summer league ball. So the fact that I was picking up Bubbachuck full court was kind of strange. What was even stranger was that I was guarding him when my team had the ball. I knew that this was my moment, and I knew that I needed to shut down Iverson. He started to get frustrated. He stood at half court with his arms folded, angry because he couldn’t get his hands on the ball. When he was getting the ball, he was doing things he didn’t ordinarily do, bouncing the ball off his foot, missing easy shots. Now was this due to my incredible defensive skill, or was this just total luck? That’s easy to answer. It was total f****** luck.

But who cares. People thought that I was shutting down AI, and that’s what mattered. Finally, he got his hands on the ball, and decided to take it to the hole. I somehow stayed with him. He went up for a short five foot jumper. I jumped with him. It was at that time that the greatest thing that’s ever happened in my life occurred. Due to my poor leaping ability, my hand only got as high as his face. But he lost control of the ball. He flung his arms to retrieve it, but only succeeded in knocking the ball backwards. The ball flew past the three point line and in the opposite direction. Now, here’s the beautiful part: The crowd thought I had blocked the shot!!! They went absolutely nuts. “Did you see white boy swat Iverson?” There were high fives in the crowd as I stuck my chest out as far as it would puff, perhaps a few inches even past that, and pumped my fist. The next time down the court, Bubbachuck nailed a three. The next time down he dunked. But it was too late. A message had been sent: It was my court, I was just letting him play on it.
Related: The Bubbachuck Papers, Vol. 1 (My buddy Phil corroborates my story. Sort of.)