“Ohhhh Jesus I love you!”
“I love you!”
“Jesus, I need some money…”
No matter where he went on Coney Island, they came around. People always wanted something. Even in his moment to relax, trophy and check in hand, the sweat running off his fingers and dampening the paper, they mixed in with the crowd. Everywhere he looked, he could point them out: always reaching out trying to touch him… always with a fake look of despair on their faces.
To hit right stood his father Jake, smiling from ear to ear, acting out the final jumper his son had hit to win the Dime Ultimate Movie Baller tournament with some local. He was over exaggerating it all, but still it looked identical. “I taught him that!” he opened up through a fit of laughter and a pumped fist.
Five minutes had passed since the younger Shuttlesworth had banged a step-back 15-footer to finally do what Moses Guthrie, Kyle Lee Watson and Butch McRae had failed to do: beat the little gnat, Billy Hoyle. It was all over, the finals ending just as the beginning of the one-on-one tournament did: with Jesus as a conquering hero. Travis Porter in the first round had barely registered a bucket. The Wolf in the next gave him a few surprises but wasn’t consistent enough. Neon Bodeaux in the Final Four was a monster, but was stuck on making it harder on himself than it should’ve been and thought everything was biased against him. Now, it had been Hoyle’s turn to feel the wrath of Jesus of the playgrounds.
It almost didn’t happen though. At the start of the game, Hoyle began running his mouth, saying Jesus couldn’t cut it, that Moses was nicer, that on the streets people didn’t care what you did in high school. Jesus’ skin is thick, but even he had to stop for a second.