#WeTheNaismith

“I’m glad you got here so quickly, Dr. Gulick. We’ve got a situation happening in the gymnasium.”

“What’s the hurry, Mr. Stubbins? I asked Mr. Naismith to create a new game for our physical education program here at the Springfield YMCA International Training School, and he did. The students seem to be enjoying it, too.”

“Well, Dr. Gulick, it’s not the game that’s the problem. It seems a little strange to me, but I do think it’s working. It’s Mr. Naismith himself. I’m starting to wonder if I made a mistake, giving him my peach baskets for his new game.”

“I keep telling you, Mr. Stubbins, we’ll return your precious peach baskets.”

“I’m holding you to that, Dr. Gulick. I NEED those baskets BACK!!!”

“Simmer down, Stubbins. All right now, what’s going on here? Why aren’t the students playing this ‘basket ball’ activity that James created? Why are they all sitting on the floor?”

“I think he calls those one of his ‘pep talks,’ Dr. Gulick. Come over here and speak to him. But approach him carefully. I think he’s a little fired up right now.”

“…You boys are trailblazers! Well, not true Trailblazers, because this is Massachusetts, not Portland. But I promise you, the game you have helped me invent and perfect is going to change the world!”

“Is this some kind of Canadian joke, sir? I mean, we’re the only ‘basket ball’ team in the world. How are we going to change it?”

“Because, my fine young lad, this is just the beginning. Late last night, after finishing off my evening dose of this fine new drink called ‘Coca-Cola,’ I tossed and turned in a fit of restless sleep, and suddenly I was visited by a great prophet!”

“You mean, like the Ghost of Christmas Future?”

“No, no, Mr. Naismith talks a lot about the Bible. He must mean somebody like those Old Testament soothsayers, like Elijah or Isaiah.”

“Ah, much better than that, my boys! I was visited by a great sports prophet – a prophet of PROFIT, you might say. For yea, verily, did my frightened eyes behold the gleaming, glittering…Prophet Drizzy!!!”

“See, Dr. Gulick, I warned you.”

“I see what you mean, Stubbins. Be a good man and go fetch the medical staff. Advise them to bring along a white coat.”

“Um…Who’s this ‘Prophet Drizzy,’ Mr. Naismith?”

“He is a profound poet, my boy. He shall be celebrated in years to come, with 21st-century scholars placing his masterwork “Hotline Bling” alongside Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Machiavelli’s The Prince. And Drizzy himself bears the robes of a prince, including a glittering, jewel-studded jacket bearing an odd-looking symbol and the word ‘Raptors’ on the back.”

“So, uh, what did this ‘Drizzy’ tell you, sir?”

“He spoke of a magical time to come, when our beloved ‘basket ball’ would be played all over the world. He predicted that millions would come to worship behemoths named Abdul-Jabbar, Bird, Jordan, Pippen, Barkley, Rodman, Kobe and LeBron. And he delighted me with tales of an actual Canadian ‘basket ball’ team, not far from my hometown of Almonte, Ontario.”

“What? How could you play this game in Canada, Mr. Naismith? Isn’t there too much snow and ice for anything but that weird hockey thing you keep talking about?”

“Oh, ye of little faith! The Prophet Drizzy spoke lovingly of those who would pave the way for our new game in my native land – Carter, Olajuwon, Curry, Bogues, Bosh, Calderon. Their shoulders bore the overpriced sneakers of those who would finally bring a ‘basket ball’ championship to Toronto – Lowry, Kawhi, Lin, Loyd, and of course, my ultimate successor, the great Coach Nurse. What a glorious day that will be!”

“They had a nurse for a coach? Wouldn’t she work with the team doctor, sir?”

“Excuse me, Mr. Naismith. This all sounds very exciting, but when am I going to get my baskets back?”

“Not now, Stubbins. I’ve got so much to teach these boys. Commercial endorsements! Trash talking! Pretending to enjoy playing games in Cleveland!”

“All right, that’s it, Naismith. Time for a little rest.”

“Dr. Gulick! I’m so glad you’re here. As the head of physical education, I just know you’re going to love my idea for a brand new sport to follow up on the success of our ‘basket ball’ program.”

“Make it quick, Naismith. These nice men would like to take you for a little visit to the clinic. What do you have for me?”

“Picture it – SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING!!!”

“All right, that’s it. You’ve fouled out, Naismith. Off the court.”

“No! You can’t do this to me! I have a Canadian sports empire to create!”

“Yes, yes. We’ll talk about that on your forced sabbatical. Hit the showers, boys.”

“I still want those baskets back!”

“Settle down, Stubbins.”