Devin Booker lagged behind the rest of his teammates getting off the team bus, which had just parked in the back of Boston's TD Garden. He always liked to take a little while to get himself focused; walking through the hallways of whatever arena they were playing at and getting followed around by people holding cameras was the opposite of relaxing.
After a few minutes of leaning back with his eyes closed and his headphones on, trying to clear his mind, he finally felt he was in the zone. He got up from his seat in the back, walked to the front of the bus, shook the driver's hand as he always tried to do, and started his refreshingly-quiet walk towards the visitors' locker room.
"Psst! Devin! Over here!"
Devin stopped in his tracks and looked around. He could have sworn he had heard a voice, but he didn't see anybody who could have spoken. The parking garage was seemingly empty. Just as he shrugged and resumed his walk to the locker room, he heard the voice again. "Devin! Devin! Behind the blue sedan!"
He caught sight of a hand waving at him from behind a nearby car. Warily approaching the voice, knowing that there were many people in the world who would love to mug an NBA player for their shoes or jewelry, Devin leaned over the hood of the car to see who was addressing him.
It was Michael Jordan.
"Uh, hey MJ," Devin said, so starstruck that he was unable to think of anything else to say to his idol.
"I was gonna run you down if you ignored me," Michael said. "So thanks for saving me the trouble. I've got something real important to give you, but you gotta huddle back here and keep your voice down. I don't want any interruptions."
Devin didn't even question Michael's instructions. He squatted in the space between the bumpers of two cars and whispered, "I just can't believe it's you. I feel like I'm dreaming."
Michael chuckled softly. "You think it's surreal now, you just wait until after the game."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Devin replied, wearing a joking smile but feeling confused at the same time.
"Never mind. Never mind," Michael said dismissively, waving his hand. "If we don't hurry up people are gonna wonder where you got off to, and, remember, we don't wanna be found." He pulled a small backpack out from underneath the car they were hiding behind and began to rummage in it. Finally, he found what he was looking for, and handed the younger player a blue water bottle with a yellow hand-written label affixed to the side.
Devin squinted at the scrawled lettering. "Michael's Secret Stuff," he read aloud. Then his eyes grew wide. "Like from Space Jam!"
"The very same," Michael said happily, chuckling again at Devin's reaction.
Devin uncapped the bottle and took a swig. The liquid inside was clear and had no taste. After smacking his lips a few times, he concluded, "It's just water." He paused, then continued, "But it's water from the best basketball player of all time, so I guess that makes it better than the stuff I usually drink." He tried to hand the bottle back to its owner, but was rebuffed.
"Keep it. Drink it during the game."
Devin began to protest, but then realized that nobody on the bench would mind him bringing his own water bottle, especially if it was labeled in reference to a popular 90's pop-culture reference. "Got it. Thanks, MJ."
"You'll have nobody to thank but yourself," Michael said. "I gotta get going. Good luck, Devin!" Before Devin could get in a proper goodbye, or even ask what this latest cryptic remark meant, Michael had jumped up from his hiding place and sprinted away, out of the garage.
The game was over. He had just scored seventy points. Even though his team had lost, Devin's feeling of elation was unbelievable as the crowd filled with Celtics fans cheered for him. He held the emptied bottle of "Secret Stuff" in his hand as he looked out at the crowd.
A familiar face caught his attention, and the two men made eye contact. Just as Devin's brain registered what he was seeing, Michael Jordan smiled, winked once, then disappeared.
"What'd you see?" asked Marquese Chriss, noticing his teammate's distraction.
Devin looked away from the crowd and back at the water bottle in his hand, questioning the true nature of the substance that had been contained within. "Oh, nothing. Just an old friend."
Devin with an insane 70 point game beating his career high by 30 points