“So my producers tell me you’ve started a charity that donates items from your clothing line to inner-city children who can’t afford them,” television presenter Maggie McCleary said to top “streetballer” Babyjesus Shaheed during their much-anticipated holiday interview special. “I think that’s a very nice thing to do at Christmastime.”
“It do what it do,” Shaheed responded.
“I see,” McCleary said, although she had no idea what Shaheed meant by that. In fact, the first ten minutes of their interview had consisted of little more than him answering her open-ended questions with unintelligible, monosyllabic responses. “Now, how do you feel about what your former coach ‘Herc’ Broadsides has said about you?”
Shaheed ran his fingers through the bushy goatee he insisted on calling his “playoff beard” despite the fact that his team had failed to make the playoffs. “What he say?”
“He said, and I quote, ‘Babyjesus has all the talent in the world, but he doesn’t like to practice and his teammates hate his guts.’”
“Man, who knows,” Shaheed said. “Ain’t even going to speak on that.”
“Well, you promised to bring a title to Cleveland after signing with them in the offseason,” McCleary continued. “In fact, you guaranteed one.”
“Talking about practice! Not even a game, just practice,” Shaheed mumbled, his gaze fixed on the floor.
“Yes, let’s talk about practice. How did you feel about having to attend Coach Broadsides’ practices?”
Shaheed didn’t understand why his agent had booked him on this show. He had nothing to say to this artificial-looking woman, and, aside from what she was reading off the teleprompter, she seemed to know little about him. Contrary to the platitudinous criticisms of has-beens like “Herc” Broadsides, he took the game of basketball quite seriously. Spending precious minutes involved in a venture like this one struck him as a waste of time. “You got something real to say to me, lady?” he asked.
“Well, I think our viewers are dying to know if the rumors about you and Boogie Crackerjack are true,” McCleary said.
Shaheed shook his head. “Nobody want to know that dumb shit.”
“Babyjesus, there’s no reason to talk like that.”
Shaheed smiled as he stood up and prepared to leave the interview. “Nah, there is a bunch of reasons. Not like you got to worry about them, though.”