(DATELINE: 2226, CE, a hundred years after the great war. A McMansion in what we now know as suburban Memphis. The house has been abandoned for 120 years. The front door opens with difficulty. Enter DANIEL and LAURA. He is a 45-Year old man in a suit without a tie. His top button is undone. He has ragged facial hair and a conservative haircut. LAURA, 32, is his assistant. She is wearing a grey pant suit jacket and blue jeans. Her brown hair is is a ponytail.
We see that this house is a depository for Memphis Grizzlies memorabilia. "We Don't Bluff" Towels, posters, jerseys, everything.)
LAURA: What is all this stuff? (She picks up a t-shirt and looks at the front. A picture of a basketball.) A basketball team? I don’t remember seeing them on the historical record...
DANIEL: The Memphis Grizzlies.
LAURA: Excuse me?
DANIEL: The Memphis Grizzlies. I’ve read about this team before. An old book in the library.
LAURA: (Holds up a T-shirt with Zach Randolph’s face on it.) Did you read about this? Odd looking man. He was a professional athlete?
DANIEL: (Takes the shirt and looks at it for a second.) Zach Randolph. Z-Bo.
LAURA: Z-Bo? A nickname?
DANIEL: From what I’ve read, I think ‘Zach Randolph’ may have been the nickname, if you know what I mean. A malcontent at every stop he made before Memphis. But they got him somehow. Or he got them, it’s hard to say. I think they fed each other. He choked Blake Griffin during a game, you know.
LAURA: The legendary peace activist?
DANIEL: Well, he was a basketball player, once. Anyway, ZBo. Didn’t jump. No, couldn’t jump. But he was strong. I read, once, about him posting up on a fast break possession.
LAURA: ...why wouldn’t he just lay it in?
DANIEL: Just didn’t come natural. They say he moved better in circles than in lines. Rotated with the spheres of the universe. Gravity was in his blood.
(A Mike Conley photograph, signed by Conley, sits on a coffee table. Laura picks it up.)
LAURA: “Mike Conley?” (Laura consults an electronic device) Nothing is coming up on my info device. No record of this guy, apparently…
DANIEL: (Chuckles) I’m not surprised. Mike wasn’t about the spotlight, Laura. He didn’t play for awards or fame or anything like that. He just came every night and did what it took for his team to win. His destiny was to be lost to the ages, I suppose.
LAURA: ...then how do you know about him?
DANIEL: (Looks past Laura to an Oil Painting of Tony Allen hanging on the wall.) My God, is that… Laura, come look at this painting. Laura, this man. This was a man who lived in defiance of the world. Imagine, for a second. A shooting guard, who couldn’t shoot, or dribble, and he frequently mishandled layups, but no one in their right mind would ever say he was a bad player.
LAURA: But… why!?
DANIEL: Defense, Laura. This man was consumed by the spirit of defense. Any kind. Steals, lockdown man to man, hell, he would go for a mean show on a pick and roll if you gave him the chance. And to see him on the sideline was… he was truly an original. Clapping, yelling. I remember what he said, his words became the mantra. Grit and grind. Like toothpaste, Laura. It was how they won. Every other team was like a machine but they were like dirt, corroding the gears and making them break down. Driving their opponents into frustrated madnesses. It was… it was ugly… but it had a poetry. A heroism.
(While Daniel was soliloquizing, Laura has pried open a door with a crowbar. She looks in the room, and what she sees shocks her. She drops her crowbar. A poster, on the wall.)
LAURA: Oh my God.... Daniel th-th-th-that’s… you!
(MARC GASOL looks at the poster for half a second. He turns away and walks slowly out of the house. He stands in the doorway and lights a cigarette.)
MARC: Once, it was me. But no more. Those times are long over.