Friday, November 03, 2006
Miami Heat Slam Dunks for the Arts
When Dwight Dunkin of the Miami Heat heard the Concert Association of Florida (CFA), which for forty years nearly singlehandedly kept the classics in music and dance alive in Miami, couldn't crawl out from a measley $1.7 million perennial debt, he decided the time had come to "slam dunk their cares away."
"It ain't always about the money with us obscenely paid athletes," he said in an interview on the steps in front of the Miami Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. He was joined by Ms. Judy Drucker, founder and President of the CFA and another woman whom he squeezed and gave a wink before continuing on. "We've been shown the money-- and lots of it. Now it's time to give back. When I heard Ms. Drucker couldn't shake loose that debt, that it 'had been hanging on for years,' I decided to pass a bucket around the locker room after last night's humiliating 42-point lost to the Bulls in our opening season game. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best time. It was hard to get my point across to my teammates what with Coach Riley yelling and screaming at everybody in the background. When he finally lost his voice and was escorted away by security, I stood up on a bench and made my pitch in the dead silence of the locker room.
"'Champions of the World?' I screamed. 'We just got creamed. We look like chumps.
"'Shut the f*** up, Dunkin,' someone shouted back.
"'Sit down, motherf*****,' another one of my buds chimed in.
"But I wouldn't. I kept on. 'We should be ashamed for takin' all this money they throw at us and playin' like we did tonight. Let's make amends. Let's give some of it back.
"'What? Are you nuts?'
"I ignored the question and said, 'Let's help a deserving non-profit group that puts on concerts here--'
"'What kind of concerts?' someone shouted.
"You know, those kind of concerts where they play music like, I don't know, from a hundred years ago.
"'A hundred years ago?'
"Maybe older," I said.
"'You talkin' classical music?'
"Yeah, that's it! And they put on dances, too!
"'Not that ballet sh**?'
"Yeah, it's cool.
"'Let's get him before he says another word!' they yelled.
"At that point, some of my teammates jumped me and pummeled me to the ground. When I regained consciousness, I found they had slam dunked me head first through a basketball rim. Those guys, always joshing around. Anyway, as I struggled to free myself, I happened to glance upward into the Arena lights and was blinded by the light. When I looked away, my eyes were blinking and trying to focus on something below me. It was a name tag. As it came into view, I could read the word 'Epiphany.' When she came into view, I could see she was one of those cute arena security guards and she was looking up at me.
"'How'd you get up there?' she asked.
"When I told her what happened, she smiled and said, 'It's a good idea. I like it. I'll get you a ladder.'
"I guess I needed to hear that then because I must admit I had begun to second guess myself during the time it took the blood to rush to my head. Anyway, before she returned and I blacked out for a second time, I had worked it all out. I, Dwight Dunkin, the lowest paid player on the team, would bring together professional athletes and other wealthy entertainers living in south Florida to help pay off the debts on our fiscally responsible non-profit cultural groups so that they can stop struggling and start flourishing. I decided to call it the S.D.A-- Slam Dunk for the Arts."
So, how did the Miami Heat get involved?
"Well, when Mickey heard about it, he also thought it was a good idea and offered his full support. The players have been pretty cool about it too. We may be chumps right now, but we came up with something that ain't chump change that's for sure. That's why I'm proud to present a check for $2 million to the Concert Association of Florida."
As the media and a few homeless guys who had wandered by and stayed to watch the press conference applauded, Mr. Dunkin was given a giant cardboard check to present to Ms. Drucker. Unfortunately, the bay breeze caught the unwieldy object and nearly knocked her down the steps. When she regained her composure and straightened her hair, she thanked Dunkin and the Miami Heat players. "Finally, after 40 years," she said, "we are debt free. I can finally start taking chances on bringing in more avant garde forms of entertainment and not worry about filling seats."
"You mean like the Blue Man group?" Channel 10's Michael Putney asked.
"Oh, for god's sakes, no, Michael," Ms. Drucker replied. "I'm talking about the Klezmatics and Pinchas Zukerman and a bunch of Russian guys with names no one can pronounce."
Louis Aguirre from Deco Drive interrupted the uneasy silence that followed by shouting over the heads of the reporters, "Dwight, who's the babe standing next to you?"
Dunkin turned to her with a loving, knowing smile and gave her a squeeze. "This is Epiphany."
Aguirre responded, "So I guess you could say you had an Epiphany."
The press laughed. Dunkin smiled and didn't turn away from her as he replied, "Oh, yeah, I had Epiphany alright. Mo' than once."
Epiphany sadly shook her head, smiled up at Dunkin and playfully waved a cautioning finger in his face. "Remember, Dwight, darling" she said, "Epiphanies rarely come more than once in a lifetime."
"Yeah, but when they come, they really come," Dunkin replied with a tight squeeze for emphasis.
"Oh, you so bad."
At that point when Dunkin and Epiphany started going at it on the Arena steps, the press conference-- to the relief of Ms. Drucker who was obviously uncomfortable standing next to the amorous couple-- basically came to an end.