NBA

Could the NBA use The Goblet of Fire to safely resume their season?


The NBA is ramping up their efforts to try and restart the 2019-20 season and all options are on the table, even The Goblet of Fire.

Adam Silver rose to his feet. On either side of him stood Michele Roberts and Mark Tatum both were tense with expectation of what was to come next. Chris Paul was flashing his State Farm-approved grin far and wide for all to see. Joe Lacob, on the other hand, looked bored with the entire proceedings.

“Well, as you all know, we are gathered here at Walt Disney World to test out our latest plan to finish the 2019-20 season,” said Silver. “In the center of this hall, we have placed the magical Goblet of Fire — courtesy of Universal Studios — from Harry Potter. For those unaware of what this process entails we have brought in an expert to explain and answer any questions.

Klay Thompson emerged from the crowd, Rocco by his side, and stepped to the podium.

“All 30 teams were tasked with entering one player’s name to represent them in a one-on-one tournament,” Thompson said. “Of those 30 names, the goblet will release three names — each of whom are required to participate in four further challenges — to decide who will be crowned champion.”

“Thank you, Klay,” Silver said as he returned to the podium. “Once the names are called, I ask that they please come to the podium and then exit into the adjacent room. In there they will receive further instruction.”

Thompson handed Silver his officially licensed Harry Potter™ wand and the commissioner proceeded to walk towards the Goblet of Fire which was sprouting bright blue flames, coating the entire room in a blueish hue. Silver gave it a few taps with Thompson’s wand and instantly the fire burned red within the giant cup as sparks spattered out from it. A moment later, a piece of paper shot out tinged on all sides from the flame and it fluttered into Silver’s waiting hands.

Silver kept the slip close to the light of the flames, which were once again shinning blue, in order to read it better.

“The first selection,” he said as his voice echoed off the walls in silence, “will be Luka Doncic.”

This was not a surprise. A storm of applause and cheers swept through the hall as Doncic rose from the Dallas Mavericks table, and without a word disappeared into the next room.

“Atta boy Luka!” shouted Mark Cuban over the raucous celebration, he was loud enough that the entire hall could hear. “Knew you would be selected!”

Once the cheers quieted down everyone’s attention was once again turned to the goblet, which had suddenly turned red once again. A second slip of paper was propelled out of the cup by the flames.

“The next selection,” said Silver, “is James Harden!”

The former MVP got gracefully to his feet, combed through his flowing beard, and euro-stepped between the Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs tables.

Yet, a couple of other members of the Houston Rockets table — all dressed exuberantly — looked disappointed. Both Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker looked on the verge of tears as they watched Harden saunter by.

The room fell silent once again after Harden made his exit to the adjacent room, the tension was thick. The final name was about to be produced.

Once more, the Goblet of Fire turned red; sparks emerged from the flames within; the tongue of which was rising higher into the air, and the third paper drifted down into Silver’s hands.

“The final selection,” Siver called out, “is Jayson Tatum!”

The room once again erupted into an uproar, coming predominantly from Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, and the rest of the Boston Celtics table. Every single Celtic, current and former, had jumped to their feet, screaming and stomping, as Tatum walked by smiling from ear-to-ear. The applause continued well longer than the previous two times and it was a few minutes before Silver could regain control of the room.

“Excellent!” he said as the last of the cheers drowned away. “We now have our three contestants for the one-on-one tournament. I am sure that the remainder of you will give them support. For, in cheering on the contestant of your choice, you will contribute in a –”

Silver suddenly stopped speaking, and he wasn’t the only distracted person in the room.

The flames in the Goblet of Fire had turned red again. Sparks awkwardly shot out and the entire cup began to shake violently. At last, it shot out another piece of paper into the air.

Silver instinctively reached out a hand and snatched the slip from the air. He held it up to the light of the flame and stared at the name upon it. A long pause followed, during which Silver continued to stare at the paper in his hands, and the rest of the room stared back. Finally, Silver cleared his throat and said aloud —

“Bronny James.”

Bronny was aware that every person in the room had turned to gawk at him. He was stunned. He felt numb. This surely was not real. It was a dream, or he had simply heard incorrectly. No applause came after his name had been called. Whispers had broken out around the hall and they were reaching a cricket-like crescendo; players were standing up to get a better look at Bronny, as he remained frozen in place.

Up at the table behind the podium, LeBron James had gotten to his feet and rushed past Chris Paul and Mark Tatum to whisper urgently to Silver, who turned toward him and was slightly frowning.

Bronny turned to LaMelo Ball and Mikey Williams; beyond them, he saw the Los Angeles Lakers table all watching him, with their mouths agape.

“I didn’t put my name in,” Bronny said absentmindedly, “You know I didn’t.” Ball and Williams just stared back at him, saying nothing.

At the podium, Silver had regained himself and was nodding to LeBron.

“Bronny James!”, Silver shouted, “Bronny! Up here please!”

Bronny got to his feet, stumbling slightly over the loose shoelaces of his Nike SB Dunk Low Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky. He started toward Silver. walking through the gap between the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers tables. Each step seemed to bring him no closer to his final destination than the one prior, and he could feel the eyes of everyone within the room fixed upon him. After what felt like several hours he was standing in front of Silver.

“Well…go into the next room Bronny,” said Silver. He did not look happy to be seeing him.

Bronny moved off along the back table. Overtime Larry was seated at the very end. He did not wink, wave, or give any of his usual greetings to Bronny. Rather, he looked astonished and was staring at Bronny just like everyone else inside the hall. Bronny followed the door into the next room where he saw a lit fireplace awaiting him.

Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and James Harden were grouped around the fire. Each had an impressive silhouette against the backdrop of the flames. Doncic stood slightly away from the other two. Tatum was staring into the fire. James Harden turned around upon hearing Bronny enter and stroked his long beard.

“What is it?” he said. “Do they need us to come back out?”

He thought that Bronny was simply there to deliver a message to the others. Bronny didn’t know how to explain the change of circumstances that brought him into the room. He could only manage to stand there and look at the others; it hit him then just how tall all of them were.

A sound of scurrying footsteps came behind him, and Paul entered the room first. He latched onto Bronny’s arm and brought him forward to the others who were chosen.

“Extraordinary!” he said as he squeezed Bronny’s arm tightly. “Absolutely extraordinary,” he approached the fire, “Everyone, may I introduce, the fourth participant.”

Doncic stepped towards the group, his face wore a brooding glare as he surveyed Bronny. Tatum’s look conveyed both surprise and confusion. He kept looking back from Paul to Bronny waiting for further explanation. Harden, however, scratched his chin smiling, and said, “Ha-ha, good joke CP.”

“Joke?” Paul repeated outraged. “No, no, no. Not at all! Bronny’s name was the final one to come out of the Goblet of Fire!”

Doncic’s face darkened. Tatum remained bewildered by the whole situation. Harden frowned.

“But there’s been some mistake,” he said still not putting any credit into Paul’s words. “He can’t compete. He isn’t even in the NBA.”

“Well, after speaking with Jake from State Farm, the NBA-only angle was originally instituted as a safety precaution. And since his name came out of the Goblet of Fire, courtesy of Universal Studios, I don’t think he can back out …nWe heard Klay explain the rules, if your name comes out of the cup you must –”

The door into the room banged open again and a number of people stepped into the entrance: Silver, Joe Lacob, Mark Tatum, Michele Roberts, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Bronny heard the continued buzzing of the others in the hall before Jordan shut the door.

“Executive Director Roberts!” Harden said at once, flailing his arms every which way. “CP says that this little boy is going to be playing one-on-one too!”

Bronny felt a pang of anger beneath the cloud of disbelief. Little boy? He thought to himself.

Roberts had remained statuesque in her presence. “What is the meaning of this Adam?” she said offended. “I’d like to know as well, Adam,” said Mark Tatum.

“We were under the impression that your Age Limit would keep out younger contestants, Adam,” said Mark Tatum with a steely smile. “Otherwise, we would, of course, have entered a wider selection of candidates.”

“The only one at fault here is Bronny, Mark,” Jordan said softly. His yellowed eyes were aflame. “Don’t blame Adam for Bronny’s determination for attention. He has been posting TikToks ever since this whole break began and even during The Last Dance –”

“Thank you, Michael,” said Adam firmly, and Jordan went quiet, though the glint in his eyes was only matched by the shine illuminating from his bald head.

LeBron was now looking down at Bronny, who returned the glance, trying to understand the expression coming from his father’s face.

“DIDYAPUTYANAMEINTOTHEGOBLETOFFIRE?!?!?” LeBron asked calmly.

“No,” said Bronny, well aware that the entire room was watching his every move closely. Jordan made a noise of disbelief.

“Did you ask an older player to put your name into the Goblet of Fire for you?” said LeBron ignoring Jordan.

“No,” said Bronny convincingly.

With everyone stumped as to how Bronny James’ name came out of the Goblet of Fire, the league decided the best choice would be to scrap the one-on-one tournament and return to the drawing board to find a better plan for completing the 2019-20 NBA season.



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