Thursday, July 31

SSS Hall of Fame Inductee #2: The Reign Man


Words: Peter Nussbaum Illustration: Rafael Calonzo Jr.

The Reign Man

Once upon a midnight dreary, while we fretted weak and weary
Waiting for a redeeming hero like someone from long before
While we waited, nearly sleeping, suddenly there came a creeping
As of someone gently peeping, peeping at our polished floor
“‘Tis only a teenager,” we muttered, “peeping at our floor
Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, yes, now we see him, the days are shorter, it’s mid-December
And the teenager, he is now much older than he was before
Flies from floor to ceiling, with a power that was quite appealing
With a graceful majesty that bespoke of the greats of lore
A greatness we’d see again so often, but never had before
Nameless here for evermore.

Presently our souls grew stronger, hesitating then no longer,
“Oh, great one, do never leave us, it is of this our hearts implore”
And for a time it seemed he would never dream of leaving
Adultation he was receiving, greatness stretching on ever more
With a touch and power few had equal and none had more
Greatness there, and nothing more.

Onto the heights of warmer June his skills would one day take us,
On the magic carpet he’s riding, no matter what the score
“Thank you, thank you great one,” the crowds stand chanting
While his opponents were left panting, panting on the floor
Smiling, he’d leap even higher, even higher than before
Then, exhausted, sit, and nothing more.

The years began a-counting, the first-round losses mounting
Muttered rumblings of discord come flooding through the door.
Coaches more and more demanding, and a waistline e'er-expanding
Less running now and much more standing, no matter what the score,
All are wond’ring what has become of the man-child from before
Quoth the Reign Man, “Nevermore.”

Writers questions are repeated, a face begins to look defeated
Fans full of memories of their favorite highlights of yore.
He floats through the league, first with drugs, then with drinking
All are wondering what he’s thinking, thinking of nothing more?
They cling to dreamings, pleading return to where he’d left before
Quoth the Reign Man, “Nevermore.”

So an owner so beguiling, always talking, never smiling
Snatches team, leaving only memories of gold jerseys they had wore.
All the while the fans remember, oftentimes in November
Of the great one who they had worshipped on that floor.
In their heads they see him flying, giving anything to once more adore
Quoth the Reign Man, “Nevermore.”

With apologies to Edgar Allen Poe.


chunkstyle23 said...

Well done, sir. Inspired choice of source material.

Watching the YouTube vids of Kemp and Payton always make me sob for how blissfully lucky we were in the 90s to witness Kemp and Payton in their prime.

Anonymous said...

Wait...wasn't this a Simpsons episode...?

Kidding - nice work, SSS guys.

Anonymous said...

I read on deadspin that Shawn has signed a deal to play in Italy (or was rumored to have signed a deal, I forget now).

Which led me to think at the time: Shawn Kemp is famous for two things in his career - gaining a crapload of weight and fathering children with so many different women you'd think he was a descendant of Brigham Young. And now he's going to Italy, home of the best cuisine in the world and the hottest women? Oh yeah, that'll work out well ...

Anonymous said...

that actually almost brought tears to my eyes. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

The reason why I became a sonics fan was when I saw an NBA Jam feature on Shawn Kemp. I mean he just dunked on everybody, including Mutombo. Then I saw his and GP's alley-oop clips, and I became a Payton fan. I've loved them since, even when Payton was traded to the Bucks. I still love them now even if they're in OKC. I'm from the Philippines btw.

Paul said...

I'm glad you're a Sonics fan, Charles (yet another Sonics fan from the Philippines--did you drop off some leaflets the last time you were there, Raf?) but the team that is in OKC is NOT the Sonics. The real Sonics are still here in Seattle, burried deep under the earth, beneath the ruins of the Kingdome, waiting, like Der Golem, to rise from the grave and have its revenge on the NBA.

(sorry, I've been listening to a lot of Black Sabbath lately)

Paul said...

Masterful work, Pete. Look for my less eloquent profile of Sir Dunkedalot tomorrow.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Wow Super Sonics Hall of Fame.........