What the hell am I doing here?
It’s 10:45 a.m. on a July Saturday, just 10 days ago to be more accurate, and I am sitting in NAIA St. Xavier University’s gymnasium on the southwest side of Chicago, for some event called The Basketball Tournament.
My friend Jeff has convinced me to come and watch a pro-am team coached by one of his former high school teammates. Only Jeff, whom I’ve known since I was five years old, could get a
Expecting the crowd to be sparse, I arrive to a surprisingly packed gym as a goon squad with former Indiana players Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey is playing Jeff’s friend’s amateur team.
As I find a seat in the bleachers, the experience is immediately surreal. It’s about to get even weirder.
Apparently, The Basketball Tournament is a nationwide 5-on-5 competition offering the winning team of its March Madness-style format a $2 million collective payment.
The Illinois alum in this once die-hard basketball fan is really confused.
Really, what am I doing with my life, having no pony in this race, paying 20 dollars to watch the annoying Will Sheehey play for 2 million dollars?
The real answer, though I don’t know it at the time, peeks his head through the gym doors, cell phone in right hand and black Jordan jump suit on a body that is heavier than I last remember.
A smile adorns the baby face that mostly looks the same as it did years earlier when he became my college basketball equivalent of a pro wrestling babyface.
He actually showed!
Based on my research the day before, Bibby, the former University of Arizona and Sacramento Kings point guard, will be playing in the next game at once again, St. Xavier of all places, on a team called Pedro’s Posse, of all names.
Even stranger, he will be teaming with another former NBA player, Jason Williams, whom Sacramento traded for Bibby almost 15 years ago.
What am I to make of all of these strange parallels in this current basketball alternate universe?
Unexpectedly, something in my life has come full circle, as I am about to see Mike Bibby play again.