"Today," Dirk Nowitzki said, standing at the microphone, "I am announcing my retirement from the game of basketball...to give the great American game of baseball a try."
The stunned silence was so loud you wanted to cover your ears. Who could have imagined that this gentle German had for so long harbored the dream of "pulling a Michael"? Who could believe he'd go through with it, if he had?
But there they were, days later: A single A team, in the middle of nowhere, and one man with a custom-made uniform, standing on the diamond. "Dirk Nowitzki?" the harassed-looking minor league coach said, as if there could be any doubt. Dirk smiled. "Not here to impress anybody, coach. Just trying to make the team, like everybody else."
"No, yeah, I get that," the coach said. "You won't, though. In addition to the fact that you have no discernible baseball skills, you have the world's biggest strike zone. It's probably literally impossible for anyone to walk you."
"Haha!" Dirk said. "Hazing the new guy! Been a long time."
"I'm not hazing you, Dirk. You're going to be awful. I'm embarrassed just thinking about it."
Dirk took his place in rightfield, the traditional home of people who have to go somewhere. And there he was, like he'd always dreamed. He smiled to himself, digging the toes of his sparkling new baseball cleats into the loamy dirt, cool spring air about him, the sky looming over him like the palm of a giant's hand. How American was....
"DIRK". A voice interrupted his reverie. Slowly, he realized that while he'd been immersing himself in the experience, someone had actually hit a ball to him. He ran after it, awkwardly, but as he tried to pick it up with his glove, he whiffed. Not once, but several times.
"Ball's too small, coach!" he shouted. "Not enough...uh...pebbling? Is that what it's called?"
When he stood at the plate, something whizzed past him very fast, something he had a sneaking suspicion was actually a baseball. When he got on the bus, he had to stand in the aisle, as no bench could possibly accommodate him. In the tiny hotels, his legs hung so far off the bed they almost hit the wall.
The next day, Dirk Nowitzki, standing at a microphone, announced his unretirement from the game of basketball.
"I was too good, guys" he said, back in the locker room. "Too much of a natural. I could tell I was making everyone uncomfortable with how easy it was, so I came back."
Matrix, who had known Dirk the longest, sighed. It was "Dirk quits to become a French Pastry Chef" all over again. They'd had to turn those croissants over to the FBI.
"Glad to have you back, big guy," was all he said.