(10) Kyle Lee Watson, Above The Rim vs. (15) Billy Hoyle, White Men Can’t Jump
Everything had been fine until this guy showed up. Kyle Lee Watson thought he might with this tournament being back home and all. Georgetown had been great to him his freshman year, whether he played great or not, but still there were people back home who wanted to see him fail. They wanted to see him lose. Haters gonna hate. Always.
Even down at Georgetown last year, there were rumors he still owed his hood. He owed them something for getting out, and they were coming. Kyle wasn’t sure what that meant, but he didn’t want to find out.
So when this dude came swaggering up to him just 10 minutes before his second round matchup started, Kyle knew something was amiss. All he got was a smile back, a handshake and a stream of good lucks. Weird. What exactly did this guy want?
Then finally, he had started in on the real business, opening his mouth just as Kyle looked away, peering for an exit from the conversation.
“Check this out… you’re not going to college or any f—– where if the Birdmen don’t win.”
His eyes were death steel, and along with his black sweatshirt and jeans, he had the look of a graveyard or terror itself. With each word, he was nearly pounding his hand into Kyle’s chest, emphasizing everything.
“You might be on another team, but you playing for me Kyle. You remember that…”
The man patted Kyle on the left shoulder almost mockingly, and then stormed out, legs moving nearly sideways to keep his jeans from falling to the ground.
Wasn’t this supposed to be the other way around? Here he was playing a known gambler, a known hustler, a guy who people suspected actually found a way to get Moses to throw his first round game (how else can you explain the ABA star losing?) and yet Kyle was the one stuck in this. Billy Hoyle had his boy Sidney Deane with him and together, Kyle knew, they were scheming up something. He could see it in their eyes, the way they talked and the smirks they gave each other whenever Kyle took a warm-up shot.
“F— you,” Kyle wanted to say to them, but he knew he couldn’t. Sidney cared more about looking good than winning, but still he knew a way to swing a game. That’s how these guys played. Kyle learned that on the playgrounds, learned that from the idiot Motaw back in the day, who’d try to get in your head and then control you. He was nothing without mind control, and Kyle wasn’t about to let a fool like Billy Hoyle have control over him.
So when the refs handed him the ball and Hoyle started in on his technique, Kyle remembered all about how he nearly blew another championship back in the day because he let Motaw and some street hustler named Birdie get into his head. It wasn’t happening twice.
So the kid flipped it on the teacher, and started talking too often for Hoyle to even respond. He asked him about Sidney, asked him why they chose him instead, taunted him that he couldn’t play without Sidney, made fun of Billy for getting Moses to throw that first game (Kyle was convinced of it, even though no one else seemed to think so). Hoyle could only smile.
“Ok, I’ll give you your fun,” he eventually said. “But you’re playing my game and I don’t lose at this.”
Kyle was too focused to even hear him.
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