Patrick Ewing's homey, Fat Craig Adams, is pumped for the upcoming one-on-one contest at Douglass Park. Thet little extra meat on his bonees has never kept him from playing a mean game of hoops!
But lately, a fathead named DC has been teasing Craig about his weight. DC's cruel slames are starting to mess with Craigs mind...and his game. Can he pull himself together in time to show Thompsonville what makes him Phat Craig?
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Givin' Him The Phat
"Yo, Dogcatcher!" Fat Craig Adams belted out, holding the ball at the top of the key. "Catch this."
Fat Craig slapped the rock down on the court, pounding a crossover dribble from his left hand to his right. I could almost feel the playground in Douglass Park shake with every bounce.
LeShawn "DC" Roberts was covering Craig, and he got up on him so tight, he looked like Craig's Siamese twin.
DC was- short for Dogcatcher, which, everyone in the 'hood agreed, -had to be the most wack nickname we'd ever heard. And that made a lot of sense because DC was one of the most wack kids we'd ever known. He was always cutting kids down for no good reason except to run his big mouth, and my teammates and I couldn't stand him. But the kid did have skills, and whenever my team-the Bulldogs-played DC and the Vipers, the competition was fierce. We were down by three-the score was Bulldogs, ten; Vipers, thirteen.
"Get in his face, DC," one of the Vipers shouted. "Ain't no way that fat boy can take you!"
DC stepped up on Craig even further, waving his pumped-up arms in Craig's face, trying to bump him with his pumped-up legs.
Every part of DCs body was pumped up. You could tell the boy spent way too much time lifting weights in his basement because on top of that overpumped eleven-year-old body of his was this teeny little potato head. It looked like his parents had bought his head and his body separately.
"'Take him to school, Craig," I called from the baseline, trying to set a pick down low for Craig.'
"No worries," Craig called back to me confidently, leaning his chubbyframe into DC. Craig's weight wasn't the only reason we called him Fat Craig. He was also pretty phat the kid had some skills. Craig started dribbling behind his back, getting up in DCs face.
"Watch me, now," Craig taunted. "Round and round and round it goes. When Craig pops, nobody knows!"
He stutter-stepped and leaned hard to his right. DC lunged at the ball for the steal, but Craig spun around, pounding the rock to his left hand and leaping up for the uncontested shot.
The Bulldogs all screamed, and mad cheers erupted from the bleachers and outside the fence in Douglass Park. I hadn't realized the size of the crowd that had gathered for the Bulldogs-Vipers match.
"That's why they call me Phat Craig !" Craig shouted, backpedaling on DC. "'Cause I'm phat and all that!"
I glanced down at DC, who'd fallen onto the hot asphalt, trying to pick off Craig. He clenched his teeth and pounded his fist on the ground furiously. Craig had embarrassed DC on the court, and DC looked like that potato head of his was going to explode any second.
I stepped over to DC and held out my hand to help him up. I didn't like DC, but I was trying to show him a little court courtesy. He slapped my hand away and jumped up.
"Get your bony hand out of my face, Ewing," DC growled. "How's a giant twig like you gonna help a man like me off the court? Step off!"
DC gave me a little elbow to the side cis he ran down the court. I shook my head. So much for courtesy.
I could hardly believe DC had dissed me after I'd tried to help him. Not that my feelings were hurt. I'm used to hearing slams about how skinny I am. After all, I'm only twelve, but I'm already almost six feet tall.
DC got the ball behind the three-point line and glared at Craig with determination. His mouth was all twisted up and his eyes were narrowed. There was no doubt about it: DC was looking for revenge.
Craig crouched low and kept his eyes on DC's dribble.
"You got him, Craig, you got him!" Alonzo "Zo" Mourning called. "Pick that pocket, baby! Right out of his hands. Pretend you're me!"
Zo had a big mouth and an even bigger ego. But no, one got into the game like my boy Zo.
Craig met DCs glare and crouched low. DC faked left and took off for the hoop, but Craig threw his hand right into DC's dribble, poking the ball away from him. Craig scrambled around the other side of DC. He dribbled the loose ball back to life and turned on the speed. For a kid with a few extra pounds to carry, Craig was pretty fast. He had the lane all to himself as he glided to the hoop and kissed the ball off the board for one.
The crowd of kids in the bleachers erupted with cheers, stomping their feet on the bleachers and shouting, "Fat Craig, Fat Craig," over and over.
"'Shut up!" DC screeched at the crowd. He thrust out his hands, demanding the inbounds pass. He should have been cooling off and passing the ball to his teammates, but that wasn't DC. DC was the kind of guy who liked to embarrass people. He did not like being embarrassed.
"I own you, fat boy," DC sneered as he dribbled the ball toward the hoop. Before he even knew what happened, our smallest...