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Jim Murray

They Don't Make Heroes Like They Did

March 01, 1987|Jim Murray

The saga of an American sports hero, 1980s style, or, Frank Merriwell, boy, did you have it all wrong!

April 8--Jesse Jumpshot, star playground player from the streets of Detroit, was enrolled in Cactus Patch Community College today by Coach Hip O'Crit of the University of Los Bozos, better known in the city rooms as Hooligan Tech.

"He just needs a brush-up on his physics and a little work in the English department," the coach explained.

Critics suggested that what he needed to do in physics was find out what it was and that his work in English would consist principally of learning to read it and write it, to say nothing of speak it.

The fact that Jumpshot had no high school diploma was not a deterrent, Coach O'Crit insisted. "And he was not expelled for hitting two principals. It was only one. Also, his armed robbery charges were cases of mistaken identity. It was some other 7-2 player with a gold earring and purple cape and scar on his cheek."

April 10--Describing him as "the best dribbler I ever saw on a basketball court," Coach Hip O'Crit announced nevertheless that Jesse Jumpshot, star rookie caught in a drug sweep, "would never play a game for ULB as long as I am coach."

April 11--Reminding his listeners that "it's not the American way" to prejudge people, particularly high-scoring basketball players, Coach Hip O'Crit of the University of Los Bozos Rolling Parolees today recanted his denunciation of his star dribbler, Jesse Jumpshot, charged with attempting to purchase rock cocaine with a street value of two apartment houses and a villa in Rome.

Jumpshot explained that he was on his way to early Mass at the time when someone handed him this bag. He promised to issue a written statement. His statement proved to consist of "See Spot Run" printed in crayon.

April 30--Jesse Jumpshot, ace dribbler, was acquitted on charges of attempting to purchase rock cocaine at a "crack" house near the campus of ULB today when four witnesses placed him far from the scene of the crime.

Three of them said he was in Tucson at the time and another reported him in Phoenix. The judge, a basketball fan, ruled that the defendant could not be at a crack house on campus if he was two other places at the time and freed him.

Sept. 1--Jesse Jumpshot, expected to be the leading scorer for the Los Bozos starting five this season, was arrested for assaulting a student nurse today in an on-campus incident at a co-ed dormitory. After persuading the girl to settle out of court, University officials dropped the charges. They also dropped basketball.

"Nurses are more important than national championships," the president advised.

"What bank ever told him that?" asked ex-Coach O'Crit bitterly.

Sept. 12--Jesse Jumpshot, pleading hardship with the cancellation of basketball at ULB, today signed with the Cleveland Chancetakers of the NBA. He was given Rhode Island, the Achille Lauro, a new Maserati, two lots on the French Riviera and his own 7-Eleven store to rob whenever he gets bored with his 280-inch color television screen with its own satellite. Management also offered to build him his own velvet swing in his penthouse.

The owner, Chauncey Oldmoney III, pooh-poohed the notion that he was signing a problem. "Superstars make their own rules," he sniffed. "So do the super-rich."

Oct. 7--Jesse Jumpshot, who missed 27 straight practices, 14 team planes and 19 games in the last four weeks, was given an ultimatum by team management today. "Miss 20 more practices or more than 10 games in a row and you're out!"

The harsh action was protested by Coach Ferris Fair who said: "I need him in the lineup."

No one knew how he knew that, since Jesse was almost never in it.

Jumpshot claimed he "gave 100% the times I was in there." Management countered that giving 100% 2% of the time was not much better than giving 2% 100% of the time.

Oct. 15--Jesse Jumpshot, cut by the league after the Cleveland Chancetakers, winless this season in the NBA and bankrupt, folded the franchise, announced today that he was signing to play ball in Italy this winter.

Contacted by the media for his reactions to the move, Jumpshot's old coach, Hip O'Crit, volunteered: "That's the greatest thing that happened to Italy since Mussolini."

Asked if he would sign Jumpshot again, he answered: "Of course. He's the greatest dribbler I've ever seen. He was what you call an 'impact' player. You've got to be really special to wreck that many operations in one career."

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