(3:30 in the morning.  Air Canada Centre.  Arena is empty.  Lights are off.)

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T.J. Ford: Hello? (echo) Anybody here? (echo)

Voice: Hola!

T.J.: Jose?  Is that you?

Jose Calderon: Tee-yay!  How are you?

T.J.: Tired, man.  Did B.C. call you, too?

Jose: Si.

T.J.: Any idea why he wanted us to be here at 3:30 in the morning?

Jose: I do not know.  But as we are here, shall we play a game of caballo?

Voice: (booming over P.A.) SILENCE!

JoseDios mio!

T.J.: Who’s there?!?

(Owner’s box lights up.  Bryan Colangelo, arms crossed, stands motionless.)

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Bryan Colangelo: It is I, Colangelo.

Jose: (excited) Hello, Mishter Colan-yelo!

Colangelo: Hello, Jose.  You are probably wondering why I called the two of you here this morning.

T.J.: Kind of, yeah.

Colangelo: Well, first I must let you in on a secret.  For the past two seasons, the two of you have been unwitting participants in a prolonged try-out.  At stake, unbeknownst to you, was only, oh, I don’t know…THE TITLE OF RAPTORS POINT GUARD OF THE FUTURE!

T.J.: Uh, actually, we kind of figured that was the deal…

Colangelo: SILENCE!  Well, the try-out ends here TONIGHT!  The two of you will be participating in three simple yet definitive challenges, each uniquely designed by a master basketball strategist from the same small Italian village where my shirts are custom-made.  If you have any questions, now is the time to ask them.

T.J.: What happens if we lose…

Colangelo: SILENCE! 

T.J.: But you just said… 

Colangelo: I know what I said!  Now, I ask this question of both of you – what is the most important quality a point guard can possess?

T.J.: Quickness.

Jose: Yelling en espanol?

Colangelo: Wrong!  The most important quality a point guard can have is…self-awareness.  He must understand his unique role in an offense before he can effectively run it.  So for challenge number one, I ask you to answer this simple question: to which celebrity do you bear the closest physical resemblance?

T.J.: What?

Colangelo: ANSWER THE QUESTION!

T.J.: Um…Lupe Fiasco?

Jose: My friend Hor-Hey?

Colangelo: No!  The correct answers are Tiger Woods and a Spanish Cletus, respectively.

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T.J.: Well, that’s some bullshit right there.

Colangelo: We also would have accepted Forest Whittaker.

Jose: Who is thees ‘Clee-tus’?

Colangelo: You both failed challenge number one.  But, seeing as how Tiger Woods is a human, T.J. was closer, and I award it to him.

Jose: Que?

T.J.: This is stupid…

Colangelo: SILENCE!  Challenge number two!  And again, we begin with a simple question: what is the second most important attribute a point guard can possess?

Jose: Yelling en espanol?

T.J.: Man, why don’t you just tell us…

Colangelo: LOYALTY!  To successfully lead his team into battle, a point guard must see his teammates not just as basketball players, but as brothers-in-arms.  English!  Triano! Chop-chop!

(Two lights go on at opposite corners of the arena.  Assistant coaches Alex English and Jay Triano each stand beside a man with a burlap bag over his head.)

Colangelo: Remove the masks!

(English removes one mask to reveal Chris Bosh.  Triano removes the other to reveal Jorge Garbajosa.)

Jose: (excited) Hello, Hor-Hey! 

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Colangelo: Standing before you is each of your best friends on the team.  Now we will see if you truly know the meaning of the word…loyalty. (to Triano and English) NOW!

(Triano and English remove a gun from their pants and fire a bullet into their man’s head.  Both Bosh and Garbajosa fall to the ground in a heap.)

T.J.: WHAT THE FUCK!?!

Jose: HOR-HEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

T.J.: What kind of sick game is this!?!

Jose: (drops to floor, sobbing) Hor-hey, my friend…mi amigo

T.J.: Man, this is some criminal shit going on right now.

Colangelo: Yes, yes…

Jose: (kneeling in prayer) Dormir bien, mi hermano.  You shall be…avenged.

T.J.: I’m getting the hell out of here.

Colangelo: YOU’RE NOT going anywhere, T.J..  Jose, it is clear from your oath of vengeance that you truly understand what it means to be a loyal friend.  I award challenge number two to you.  And to prove that I am not a monster…I did not have your friends killed.

T.J.: What?  What the hell is wrong with you?

Jose: Que?

Colangelo: That was not Jorge Garbajosa.  It was a homeless man we brought in off of Bay Street.

Jose:  I thought he had just taken a bath.

T.J.: What about Chris?

Colangelo: That was Joey Graham in a wig.

T.J.: Wow.  That sucks…I guess.

Jose: Who is thees “Yo-ee-gram”?

Colangelo: NO MORE QUESTIONS!  It is time for the third and final challenge!  As you have each been awarded one challenge, this will decide everything.  The winner will be given a ten-year extension and handed the keys to the franchise!  The loser will be traded, along with the body of Joey Graham, to Memphis for Pau Gasol.

T.J.: Man, whatever.

Jose: Otro espanol!  I like!

Colangelo: The final challenge, not surprisingly, involves the third most important quality a point guard can possess – footwork.

T.J.: Now we’re talking.

Jose: Es mas.  I am no match for you, Tee-yay.

Colangelo: And what better way to test your footwork than with a…dance-off!

T.J.: Sorry, Jose, but you know I’m a stone-cold whirling dervish when those beats drop.

Jose: Is true.  But I shall do my best.

Colangelo: Bring out the dance pakers!

(Two members of the Irish Spring (TM!) Raptors Dance Pak emerge from the tunnels.)

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Colangelo: Triano! Spin the “Wheel of Dance”!

(Jay Triano emerges from the tunnel with a carnival wheel.  Each section on the wheel lists a different dance style, from “Hip-hop” to “Foxtrot” to “Boogaloo”.  He spins it.  It stops on “Flamenco”.)

T.J.: Oh, COME ON NOW!

Jose: SiMi madre, she was a flamenco teacher.  I have a fighting chance.

Colangelo: Ladies, grab your partners and…BEGIN!

(The sultry sounds of a six-string guitar blast from the P.A. system.  The pairs begin dancing.  T.J.’s moves are athletic and lightning quick, yet noticeably jerky, involving several rapid accelerations and even quicker stops.  He continually tries to dip his partner way too early in the dance.  Jose, while not quite as smooth or graceful, works through the dance more methodically and carefully, preferring to set his partner up for some spectacular moves.)

Colangelo: Cut the music!

Jose: (pumping fist) Arriba!

T.J.: C’mon, this shit is rigged!  How are you going to put me in a flamenco contest against a Spanish guy?

Colangelo: I’m sorry, but you lost, T.J.  You must now leave the team.  There is a limousine waiting for you outside.  It will take you to Pearson for the next flight to Memphis.

T.J.: What about all the stuff at my apartment….

Colangelo: BE GONE!

T.J.: Fine.  (walks off) I’m sick of watching Telemundo on the plane anyway.  Enjoy running Team U.N., you granite-faced, giant-collared megalomaniac…(exits through tunnel)

Jose: GOODBYE MY FRIEND TEE-YAY!

Colangelo: Congratulations, Jose, the team is now yours.

Jose: Thank you, Mishter Colan-yelo.

Colangelo: Yes, fine.

Jose: Mishter Colan-yelo?

Colangelo: What is it?

Jose: May I practice the basketball?

Colangelo: It’s 4:00 a.m., Jose.  Go home and get some sleep.

Jose: Oh, but I am now so excited!  I could not fall to sleep tonight!

Colangelo: (sighing) Fine.  But be sure to turn off the lights when you leave.

Jose: I will.  Goodnight, Yeneral Man-a-yer!

Colangelo: Goodnight, Jose. (leaves owner’s box)

Jose: (hits a three) Uno…(swish)…dos…(singing to self)…I can be your hero, Hor-heyI can take away your pain…(swish)…tres…