Benched and decried, he considered quitting
Bad knees sapped his vast athleticism
But that night the doubters were admitting
That they weren’t proud of their cynicism
It was Nineteen Ninety-Eight, you’ll recall
An old thirty but what fine court vision
A genius when handling the basketball
Wasted steps? No. Kinetic concision
Start-stop dribble move, a canny head fake
His defender, conquered, can’t stop him now
This is why he played, to lead the fast break
He dunked the rock, then took a brief bow
He was young again, fearless, one last time
This was art, put him in the Guggenheim


Kevin Canfield is a writer in New York City. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Film Comment and other publications.