Bringing another story over from my home base at PoundingTheRock to help pass time during the lockout
New York, NY- National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern let slip in a Monday morning phone meeting that he has been in contact with several genetics programs around the country, discussing the possibility of filling arenas with the clones of former NBA greats during this coming season.
The conference call, which took place between several other high ranking league officials, was a brainstorming session of sorts, where several contingency plans were bandied about in case the league-wide lockout, now two weeks old, spills over into the boundaries of the regular season. Speaking only on the condition of anonymity, we were told by a league employee that the phone call was "nothing more than a simple spitballing of ideas, just in case the regular season rounds the corner and no talks with players have proved productive." Declining to make any further comment on either the cloning issue or any other subjects discussed during the call, we elected to contact several of the top genetics programs in the country in hopes that further clarification could be provided.
Protected by the comparably large stature of his company, Amgen, lab tech Myron Greenspan felt no need for the condition of anonymity, confirming that Stern had indeed been in contact with the company, and that Amgen was already three weeks into the advanced stages of cloning the entire 1987 Lakers. "Around here there's really not a need for any confidentiality.", Greenspan stated. "We know that we're not the only biotech company Stern has contacted, so it's a matter of pride for Amgen. We're looking to put the most accurately reproduced team on the court this season, so there's a lot on the line." Greenspan added, referring to the efforts of competitor Genentech, who confirmed via phone call that they were in the midst of efforts to bring back the 1995 Houston Rockets, as well as the 2002 Laker Girls.
Despite assertions by both Greenspan and the Genentech employee that Genzyme was looking to recreate the 1997 Chicago Bulls, publicity and marketing workers for the company reported that Michael Jordan's likeness was too expensive, so they'd settled on creating the rest of the team and complimenting them with the nameless "Guard #23" instead. "It's really not the '97 Bulls." Asserted Patricia Candido, head of Genzyme PR. "We had initially settled on moving forward with the 1989 Pistons until one of our interns suggested that we simply use the same loophole that video game companies used with Michael back in the 90's." Despite Genzyme's inability to secure the recreation of the greatest player of all time, numerous employees had already taken to wearing "Guard #23" jerseys around the office to promote synergy.
With confirmations of the cloning processes firmly in hand, we were left to wonder whether or not other teams would be featured during the upcoming season. Greenspan noted that while the artificial rosters were being created as nothing more than a contingency, that he fully expected at least 27 teams to be created between all three confirmed participants. Salivating at the prospect of getting to see teams like the '59 Celtics going head to head with the '03 Spurs, we prodded for a list of other teams on the genetic assembly line. "Well, the Celtics and Spurs are definitely on the way, but a lot of guys around the office are pretty excited by the 'Draft Bust All-Stars', because we've got guys like Benoit Benjamin, Joe Barry Carroll, and Dennis Hopson. We turned up the juice in Hopson's vertical a bit, so now he'll hopefully get the ball over the rim." Greenspan said with a smile.
Comedic liberty wasn't at a surplus with simply Amgen however, as Genentech was quick to note their production of the "All Rashard Lewis" team, a squad manifested completely by the streak-shooting dollar hoarder. "We thought it would be ironic to make a whole bunch of him play for free." Offered Genentech systems analyst Ricardo Manuel. "All of his attributes are accurate across every iteration, but this time fans will be relieved knowing that any one of the dozen ill-advised threes any of them takes isn't effectively costing them to the tune of about a million per."
Despite the understandable excitement generated by the confirmation of these historic teams being replicated, it wasn't all smiles for everyone upon receiving the news. Spurs power forward and resident nerd Tim Duncan was quick to raise the question of what would happen to these replicants if the the league and players' associations reached an agreement and the upcoming season was saved. "Well, first of all, you have to consider the fact that most of these players are cloned with their existing intelligence which, while low by my own standards, would be relatively moderate to the layperson. If the circumstances arise in which the players aren't needed, you have to assume that they'll be smart enough to dodge reclamation, especially if the clones are marked to be destroyed." While Duncan was wary of advocating those specific measures as a means of controlling the potentially rampant clones, he made several allusions to a world in which upwards of 15 Rashard Lewises could be running amok. "It'd be a lot like the Uruk-Hai in Lord of The Rings, except instead of carrying swords and battle axes they'd just suck at basketball. You tell me, which one is worse?"
Not all players shared Duncan's wariness at the prospect however, with recent retiree Shaquille O'Neal claiming, "if one of those teams features the new young Shaq, and you have to figure it would, I don't see how it could be a bad thing for anybody." O'Neal quickly set to asking us what we thought of the potential nickname "Shaquito".
Doing his best to quell any uneasiness toward the notion of current or ex-players bumping into themselves on the street, Greenspan asserted that all players being created had been designed with a specific coding in their DNA that instructs them to be indoors and reading by 7:45 PM on off nights, and to go and get real jobs if and when the lockout ends and the real players are sent back to work. "We figure the only potential drawback of this entire situation could be strong, nostalgic pains people experience when these classic editions ride off into the sunset, and actual teams featuring the real Darko Milicic come back for good. Hopefully we can ease that pain by assuring everyone out there that it isn't too far fetched that they'll see these guys working for the same wages and paying the same taxes they do in the near future."
"Except for Bill Russell." Greenspan added. "We programmed him to run for President in 2012."