My Dearest Susan,
I’m beginning to think I can’t stand being apart from you any longer. The day we met, my heart leapt for you like Kelenna Azubuike at his own rebound. And when we first kissed, I felt the rush Erik Daniels must have felt as he delivered his last second layup to defeat Mississippi State in 2004. Now, being apart from you, I lay awake at night, sweating like Bruce Pearl, yearning for the moment I will see you again. I miss the way you kissed me, as tenderly as a Keith Bogans finger-roll, as smoothly as a Tayshaun Prince three-point release. I miss the way you playfully referred to me in bed as “Shagari,” and loved me with the ferocity of Dale Brown careening into a scorer’s table. These days are tortuous to me now, apart from you; each day is as arduous as a game against Eastern Kentucky University and unpleasant as a J.P. Blevins running the point. Please say you still love me, please tell me you are still mine.
Jim, my love,
Yes, yes, yes! You will always be my love, my clinch shot in the stretch to beat Louisville. For you I would suffer a thousand Jason Parkers, a million Todd Tackets, an infinite number of Nate Knights. Without you, I am Wayne Turner without speed, Chuck Hayes without his rebound, Adam Chiles without his mother. I will always be yours and yours alone, I’ll never leave you like Pitino, I’ll never destroy our love the way Rashaad Carruth destroyed the morale of his 2001 team. Our love is as unfailing as Gerald Fitch in the zone, Donna Smith in her seat, and State Farm as a sponsor. You will always be mine.
My most beautiful Susan,
You don’t know how it feels to hear you say that. I feel like Jeff Brassow at the Maui Invitational. I am strong enough to move mountains, bold enough to drive on Andre Riddick, fearless enough to draw a deathly awkward Rob Locke foul. You are mine forever.
These days without you are becoming increasingly more miserable. It is as if I’m losing to Ole Miss — saddening and confusing. Work still remains constant, and my new co-worker Stephen says we’ll be back together soon. You’d like him, he has the everyman charisma of Roger Harden and the compassionate soul of Brett Bearup. He tells me how we should be together, and how you’re lucky to have me. I know he’s right.
This is the first I’ve heard of Stephen. But he sounds like a good friend. We all need someone to keep us on task, like Rondo needed Sparks, like Delk needed Anderson. I hope to be home next month, for a visit, where I hope we’ll cut down the nets across our hearts and together hoist a championship of love as if it were the coveted SEC trophy. I am Heshimu Evans without you — adequate enough to get the job done but knowing in my heart I am not truly great. With you, I am great.
Sorry for the delay in this response. Stephen and I have been over at Bill and Jennifer’s playing Pictionary tonight. Just as friends! You’d like him a lot, he made everyone laugh when he drew a picture of Steve Masiello sitting on the bench when he had the word “coattails.” He has a length of kindness in his soul like Rodney Dent’s reach and the childlike excitability of Todd Svboda. Please let me know when you plan on coming in to visit as Stephen and I are going to a picnic with my family for the holidays. Maybe you can come too!
My lovely Susan,
As I sit here writing this letter, I am overcome with jealousy at this “Stephen,” this Roderick Rhodes who has taken our relationship and made a mockery of it as if it were an Auburn defense. He is no friend to me, as he has stolen you away like Ryan Hogan to Iowa, and I shall thrash him until he is useless and hopeless as a Marvin Stone foul shot — and I will regain your honor once again. I will not sit idly like Reggie Hanson on the coaching staff. I will not be Oliver Simmons to his Nazr Mohammed. I will fight for our love like Jamaal Magloire after a loose ball. You’ll see.
I’m sorry to have to write this letter, but our relationship has become as ancient and unchanging as Bill Keightley. Stephen and I together are like Kansas, our arguments as silly and meaningless as an Oral Roberts University loss. I know we were good together, but let’s face it — you and I have become Team Turmoil. Stephen and I are Rupp’s Runts. For this reason, I write today to tell you goodbye. I truly hope that, like Antoine Walker, that you can overcome your problems here and go on to have a good life. But for now, I must go to Stephen. For he is my Ron Mercer, my Jamal Mashburn, my Randolph Morris.
Good luck. Godspeed. And, as it brings a tear to my eye to write this, go cats.