Thursday, May 5, 2011
GW Basketball All-Stars, Episode 1: GW Basketball All-Stars Vs Robot Stephone Paige
Written by Don Pitz. Illustrations by Seth Melton. Seth Melton is available for hire. You can find more of his work at meltonium.com
The George Washington University Men’s College Basketball All-Stars work every day to spread the joy of basketball. They encourage others to live an active lifestyle with proper nutrition. The League of Bad Guys is dedicated to bring chaos and evil. They know the power of basketball is the greatest force of good in this world, and could bring us peace and prosperity. Who will win this struggle?
Early one morning, the GW All-Stars are relaxing in the Fortress of Basketball-tude. They’re eating a plant-based, high-fiber breakfast. Their neighbor Gary enters without knocking. “Hey, GW All-Stars! It’s your crrraazy neighbor!” They all cheer, excited to see their friend. “Say, Pops, I’ve got a problem. My piecost has really been acting up lately.”
Pops Mensah-Bonsu asks, “What’s a pie cost?”
“Five dollars for cherry, three dollars for apple”, says Gary. They all laugh together. Gary exits.
The ghost of Yinka Dare appears before them. “GW All-Stars, the world needs your help! I’ve arranged a celebrity basketball game to benefit children who are living with cancer. You’ll be matched up against some washed-up has-beens from UMass.”
“Sounds great”, says Mike Brown. “Who’s the celebrity?”
“I’m glad you asked”, says the ghost of Yinka Dare. “As if a fundraiser for children with cancer wasn’t awesome enough, the really great news is you guys will be teamed up with Stephone Paige.”
“Wait a second – THE Stephone Paige?” asks Mike Hall.
“What’s a stephone paige?” asks Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
“Oh, Pops. Stephone Paige isn’t a thing. He’s a person”, says Shawnta Rogers. “He’s a former wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s my all-time favorite Chiefs player.”
“I knew you guys would be excited about it,” says the ghost of Yinka Dare. “You guys won’t have to wait long. The game is set for tomorrow. You guys should practice on the fundamentals of basketball right after you’re done with your well-balanced breakfast.”
Meanwhile, at the lair of the League of Bad Guys:
“The thing I hate most about the GW All-Stars is their culture of winning”, says Comrade Chaos, in her thick Soviet accent.
“I hate GW All-Stars because they bad for business”, says Mr. Kim, who is throwing ninja stars at a target with a picture of Pops Mensah-Bonsu on it.
“Grongo smash GW”, says the mindless oaf Grongo, as he drools over his gruel – which is full of empty calories.
“Yes, well… the GW All-Stars will be a thing of the past,” says Number One Bad Guy, seated on a throne at the head of the table. “I’ve got a plan that will finally bring them down. I just found out that they’re scheduled to have a basketball match tomorrow, some sort of fundraiser for kids with cancer.”
“That’s terrible”, says Comrade Chaos. “If they teach these children about basketball, that might just cure them. Or at worst – it would bring a whole new generation of basketball fans.”
“The good news is they’re slated to play with Stephone Paige”, says Number One Bad Guy. “I’ve kidnapped Mr. Paige and replaced him with a robot that looks just like him.”
“What good that do?” asks Mr. Kim.
“What good will that do, Mr. Kim”, corrects Number One Bad Guy. “I’ve programmed the robot Stephone Paige to be a poor sport and to teach the kids that basketball is a vile game. It will completely discredit the GW All-Stars, and that will be the end of our little problem.”
The next day, the atmosphere at the Smith Center is electric. The place is filled to capacity (of course) with dedicated fans (of course). Much of the crowd is children living with cancer and their parents. The GW All-Stars are warming up, and the UMass has-beens are bungling through haplessly. The announcer heralds the arrival of the great Stephone Paige, and the crowd goes absolutely bananas. Stephone Paige grabs the microphone. He tells the crowd that they shouldn’t exercise and junk food cures cancer. The audience isn’t sure what to make of this. The GW All-Stars greet Mr. Paige and bring them into their huddle.
“Mr. Paige, it’s really a pleasure meeting you. We’re all huge fans. Thank you so much for supporting this charity”, says Mike Brown.
“I don’t care about charity and you shouldn’t, either”, says Stephone Paige. “These kids are just a pay-check to me. If I teach them anything today, it will be that basketball is a sport for losers. Now, let’s go hard-foul these U Trash players.”
The game starts off ugly. At tip-off, Stephone Paige shoves the UMass player instead of jumping for the ball. He takes the ball and throws it hard into the face of one of the players. The ref calls for a flagrant foul and Mr. Paige gets in the ref’s face and yells at him. UMass inbounds the ball and Mr. Paige throws an obvious elbow and then dunks it. He gloats and showboats to the crowd. The adults start to boo, and Mr. Paige eggs them on.
“Something’s up, All-Stars”, says Shawnta Rogers. “This isn’t the Stephone Paige I know”.
“I agree,” says Pops Mensah-Bonsu. “Plus, I’m pretty sure that junk food doesn’t cure cancer.”
Stephone Paige takes the microphone again and starts yelling at the audience. Children start to cry. Just then, Mike Hall notices a metal rod sticking out of Mr. Paige’s elbow. It must have been exposed from his hard foul.
“Look, All-Stars!” says Mike Hall. “It isn’t Stephone Paige at all. It’s a robot!”
How will the GW All-Stars get out of this one? Will Number One Bad Guy’s robot destroy them all? What will happen? Tune in next time to find out!