(6) Butch McRae, Blue Chips vs. (15) Billy Hoyle, White Men Can’t Jump
“Dirty looks. That’s all I get,” Billy Hoyle messed with his hat. “Dirty. Dirty. All over.” The crowd was gathered around and were passing him stares that could cut right through his sternum. Hoyle moved his head from side to side, searching for one friendly face. Anyone. All he got back was the same thing: squinting eyes, closed lips and jagged brows.
They all hate me. They think I cheated.
Of course they do. Hoyle took out Moses and then Kyle Lee Watson. It was bad after Moses went down, but the ABA star didn’t need the money so he really didn’t care. He lost, and then bounced. But Kyle, he’s still in college and has nothing. Inner-city kid, his prized possessions are his Air Jordan posters barely hanging on in his dorm room. So he suspected the white boy was playing foul even before the tip. It didn’t hurt that Sidney showed up. Damn him, Hoyle chuckled to himself. He told me he wouldn’t.
Hoyle laced up his sneakers and popped up, trying to get as far away from the crowd as possible, and as quickly as possible. Kyle was gone now. He had left immediately after the game, so shell-shocked and hurt that his insults rang out above the nearby traffic. But the trail he left didn’t go quietly and everyone started talking.
“That Billy Hoyle, he’s a hustler. That’s what they all say,” everyone in the crowd was pointing at him, demanding an explanation. How did this dude beat a pro and a Georgetown player?
But Butch McRae was no Georgetown player. He was a pro, Billy Hoyle knew that, and the little mind games he had been using wouldn’t work. McRae came from nothing, came from hooping on broken down hoops with piercing wind taking every one of his shots. McRae knew all of the playground tricks. He had grown up in this environment. Before he became Hollywood, McRae was exactly what Billy Hoyle had always wanted to be. A somebody.
“My rock,” McRae called to him to start the game. Hoyle waived a finger, telling him he needed one practice shot. “I’ll shoot for ball, Butch. I’ll shoot a hook shot on this hoop.”
Fair enough, except McRae wasn’t having it. The rim was too close; Billy was standing about 10 feet away. “This Ghana. You my friend are shooting for the Sudan! …and with a hook shot!”
It took Hoyle a moment to realize what he was saying. Both hoops had the country’s flags pained onto the backboards. Ghana was relatively close, and Billy knew he could hit a hook shot from where he stood for ball. But Sudan? That was about 20 feet behind McRae, who was standing at half-court, another 10 feet from where Hoyle was.
“You want me to punt it up there? Can I at least use my right hand?”
Hoyle looked around for support, but no one was offering it. No one really wanted to. It was either make the shot or give up the rock anyways. Sighing, he spun the ball twice through his fingers, turned sideways, took a second to steady himself and let one fly.
Over McRae’s head it went, all the way down to the opposite side of the court, and barely even touched the rim.
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