Embarrassed, I sprinted into the empty locker room with tears streaming down my face. I took a moment to collect myself before looking in the mirror to see that my lip was still bleeding.
“Well, that’s gonna be a hit with the ladies,” I muttered to no one.
Just then, NBA Legend Michael Jordan barged into the locker room, brimming with concern. He scanned the room until he spotted me by the mirror.
“Kevin!” Michael Jordan shouted. “What’s going on, bro? You have to get back on the court. The game isn’t over.”
“I can’t do it, Michael Jordan,” I said. “I can’t do basketball.”
I knew he wouldn’t accept it. “Come on, man,” grumbled Michael Jordan. “It’s not that bad.”
“Oh really?” I retorted. “It’s not that bad? Look at me, Michael Jordan! I’m getting eaten alive out there! What’s the score right now?”
Basketball Superstar Michael Jordan took a deep breath and admitted, “74–5.”
“74–5,” I repeated. “74–5 in a 1-v-1 match against pop star Ed Sheeran.” I turned and faced my pathetic reflection in the mirror. Why did I ever take this ridiculous bet?
“Hey, snap out of it!” yelped Michael Jordan as he charged across the locker room with breakneck speed and smacked me in the head with his enormous hand. Ouch, that stung. “I’m sorry to be so rough with you, but you need to get it together! We are biological brothers. I know it doesn’t make any sense. We’re 30 years apart.”
“We share no physical attributes or personality traits,” I said.
Michael Jordan and I locked eyes. “And we have completely different sets of biological parents,” we said together in perfect unison.
“And still, despite all of those inconsistencies, the 23andMe DNA test insists that we are biological twin brothers,” said Michael Jordan. “Sure, I was skeptical of the results at first. But, the more time we spend with each other, on AND off the court, the more I realize that you actually remind me a lot of myself when I was your age.”
My face turned as bright red as the Chicago Bulls logo.
“You have what it takes to do this,” Michael Jordan continued. “You can beat Ed Sheeran in this irresponsible bet you took with incredibly high stakes. You just need to believe in yourself.”
“Believe in myself?” I asked. “Believing in myself won’t change the fact that I suck at basketball. And it won’t make Ed Sheeran any less violent on the court. He’s wearing brass knuckles!”
Michael Jordan nodded and silently walked over to a locker on the other side of the room. He entered the combination and opened the locker door.
“You know what I think you need?” asked Michael Jordan. He reached into the locker and pulled out his iconic #23 Chicago Bulls jersey. “A uniform change.”
I was stunned. “Michael Jordan…I…I can’t,” I stammered as he tossed the uniform across the room into my open arms. “This is your iconic #23 Chicago Bulls jersey. I don’t deserve it!”
God of The Court Michael Jordan sauntered over and placed his massive hand on my shoulder.
“If anyone deserves to wear this jersey, it’s my biological identical twin brother,” whispered Michael Jordan, choking back tears.
We embraced. I hugged my biological identical conjoined twin brother tighter than I’ve ever hugged anyone before. I ripped my old jersey off and donned Michael Jordan’s iconic #23 Chicago Bulls jersey. I could feel newfound confidence splashing through my veins like a game-winning coach’s Gatorade bath.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” screeched Michael Jordan. He leaped into the air and slammed his gigantic fist into a nearby locker, leaving a perfectly round, basketball-shaped dent. “Now, get out there and desecrate Ed Sheeran!”
“Yes, Coach!” I exclaimed as I sprinted back toward the court.
“That’s ‘Brother Coach’ to you!” I heard Michael Jordan shout from behind me.
74–5. Sure, the odds were stacked against me. But, then again, crazier things have happened.