This conversation is entirely fiction. Please use your imagination. This is not a factual account of spoken words. They are imagined words. NBA fan-fiction, if you will. (warning: cliches abound). Let me also preface this fictitious conversation by explaining that Matthew Dellavedova’s play is infuriating me and most Warriors fans.
An hour before Game 3 of the NBA Finals. We are in the Cavs locker room at Quicken Loans Arena. LeBron is getting treatment on his calves and quads. He is laying on his back on the trainer’s table, eyes closed. He removes his headphones.
LeBron: Delly! Hey Delly! Come on, over.
Dellavedova ambles over to a seat near the table.
LeBron: This is it. This is your time. Next man up! Next man! Your gonna get the money, honey.
Delly: Nothing to lose. First on the ground, last to leave.
LeBron: Tell me about growing up down under.
LeBron: No better time than the present.
Dellavedova takes a deep breath.
Delly: From Marysborough, northwest of Melbourne. Tiny little laboring town. Lot like Cleveland, actually. Bring your boots. Not a lot of college folks. Your lunch pail types. Poor folks, leaving Melbourne, searching for gold up north, like the American westward expansion.
People coming from Melbourne, folks weren’t good to the native people, as you’d imagine. Lots of problems. Common down under. My parents worked me hard. Both of them were great athletes. Worked me, then let me run loose all afternoon in the summer. Played hoops and footy, that’s Aussie football. Then just hoops.
LeBron smiles and nods.
LeBron: No better time than the present. Embrace the moment.
Delly: Right, mate. Exactly right. All I’ve ever done.
J.R. Smith wanders in and sits down.
LeBron: I’ll be by in a few minutes, J.R.
J.R. Smith gets up and goes back to his locker.
Delly: You know, this whole thing has been more fun that I thought. I left home at sixteen and went to the Aussie Institute to train. The hazing stuff you hear about in the news here makes me laugh compared to that shit. Aussies aren’t nice people, man. I love ’em, but life ain’t kind. Guess I’m lucky, though.
LeBron: Life ain’t kind. Nope.
Delly: It’s just a game, you know.
LeBron: It is…and it isn’t.
Delly: I could sit here and be all serious and tell you it’s about the rest of my life and taking care of my family…but honestly, I’m doing this for me and for you and for this team. I’m not worried about tomorrow.
LeBron puts out his fist. Delly gives him a light fist pound. Coach David Blatt calls out, “Five minutes, fellas.”