CLEVELAND — In a time when
camaraderie and good sportsmanship pervade sports — a la
LeBron James — there is one athlete who gives fans hope for
the future.

Mira Levitan

His name is Ricky Davis.

First, you have to know about Ricky. You can tell a lot about
him by his appearance. Ricky’s loud-mouthed, his shorts are
baggy and the chip on his shoulder is enormous.

Ricky once shot at his own hoop in an attempt to collect his
first career triple-double (unfortunately, the rebound he obtained
in this stunt didn’t count). Ricky is extremely selfish with
the basketball, and when a coach asks him to shoot less, he stops
shooting completely. He also doesn’t play defense —
ever.

Legend (gossip) has it that when a young ball boy relayed a
request for Ricky to move his car, Davis responded: “F**k
that s**t b***h!”

In short: Ricky is selfish and Ricky is disruptive.

As a result, Ricky was traded a couple months ago from my
favorite team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to the Boston Celtics.
After the first meeting against his old team in Boston, Ricky
walked off the court without shaking hands and ripped his former
organization and former city.

After that, I had Feb. 9 circled on my calendar: Ricky’s
Return.

With tickets behind the Cavaliers’ bench, my friend,
Varun, and I asked ourselves: “What would Ricky want us to
do?” The answer was obvious: be selfish and disruptive.

We originally planned for me to walk down the aisle in my Davis
jersey while grabbing people’s concessions and stuffing them
into my mouth. But we realized that would lead to immediate
ejection, forcing us to pick between selfishness and
disruption.

We opted for disruption.

There were popsicle-stick faces like those on Pardon the
Interruption (actually, they were fork faces). These were
multi-dimensional. We covered our faces with them whenever Ricky
looked in our direction. We also held them up to our faces to serve
as deflectors when people heckled us. My personal favorite use was
for “Dancing Ricky:” bouncing the fork around when
music played over the loud speaker.

I think it could be as big as Lil’ Penny. Based on his
unenthusiastic reaction to one of Dancing Ricky’s
performances in the third quarter, LeBron might disagree.

Varun and I also brought signs. One was supposed to read:
“In Ricky We Trust.” But we misjudged the
poster’s spacing and had to settle for: “In R We
Trust.” The other read: “Ricky is the Realest” (I
know what you’re thinking. I guess that makes me the
second-realest, but I can pretend). In fact, these signs and our
faces (our actual faces, not the aforementioned popsicle-stick
faces) were shown on TNT when Ricky entered the game.

Most importantly, we brought our loud, obnoxious voices. As soon
as Ricky walked onto the floor for warm-ups, we screamed words of
encouragement to the other end of the floor. Ricky paused to give
us the No. 1 sign.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much Ricky in the
first quarter, since he didn’t enter the game for almost nine
minutes. So we settled for making his former teammates
miserable.

For those who haven’t heckled before, the key is picking
one or two guys to ride instead of working the entire team. Our
whipping boy was former UCLA standout and current bench warmer
Jason Kapono.

The highlight was a question for his teammate: “Dajuan
(Wagner)! Who do you think will get in first: Kapono or Tony
Battie?” (Note: Battie is currently on the injured list and
was dressed in a suit for the game)

We turned our attention to Cleveland’s mascot, Moondog,
after he made the crowd roar by mopping the floor with an old Davis
jersey. We spent the rest of the game demanding someone from the
organization to explain the connection between Moondogs and
Cavaliers.

Ricky had an uncharacteristically quiet night. He scored just 10
points and avoided doing anything stupid aside from turnovers and
blown assignments on defense.

What was going on? My friend and I were left to wonder if Ricky
had reformed his game.

Then we read what he told reporters after the game: “I
didn’t get enough shots tonight to get going.”

Or, as Ricky would have answered our question: “F*** that
s*** b*****!”

Jim Weber can be reached at
“mailto:jamesmw@umich.edu”>jamesmw@umich.edu.

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