That's the ball game.
The moment he felt the court slide sideways beneath his feet, Jarrett (Jet) Jeaneret thought, "Uh, oh. This can't end well." He had protected the rim - that was his job, especially holding a one-point lead with five seconds left on the clock, Game 7 of the Finals. Demaris Jameson, the Knicks' leading scorer, had barreled through for the game-winning shot, and, improbably, impossibly, Jet had sliced in and up for the block. With the ball on its way to the basket, Jameson had hip-shoved him sideways, and now Jet was hurtling toward the metal stanchion that arced over the court, supporting the basket. The stanchion was padded, but Jet was six-foot-eleven and high in the air, soaring toward bare metal above the padding, with no way to control the flight.
Time slowed to a crawl, and Jet's mind reeled backward to a week earlier. His contract was expiring at the end of the season, and he was sitting with his agent in the general manager's office, getting the news.
"We can't renew you," said the GM.
Silence filled the room like water below decks on a sinking ship. Jet saw himself reaching for the ceiling, felt the icy water rise above his eyes, rush into his ears, gush into his open mouth, down his throat, into his lungs. He saw his wife at home, peering at their bank statement, saying, "Some money is missing."
The GM said, "Jet, we appreciate you coming off the bench, with our centers all injured. But you're a 33-year-old backup. Next year, we're going in a different direction."
Jet crashed into the stanchion. Later, he remembered actually hearing his shoulder blade crack, but he couldn't remember hitting the floor, seeing the ball bounce off the rim, or hearing his home crowd erupting in a frenzy.
(Word count: 300)