The message sent shockwaves through the core of the Sixers organization. When asked about what he had from his rookie to sophomore season, forward Lavoy Allen had this to say: "Uhh, nothing really. I didn't have to do any rookie duties this year, so that's good, I guess."
What would transpire two days later would change young Lavoy's life forever.
Sunday, April 14th: Doug Collins office, 12 PM.
Lavoy: Coach, you wanted to see me?
A pale and exhausted Doug Collins is sitting behind his desk. He had stayed up late the previous night checking Moe Harkless' box scores.
Doug: Lavoy, I want to talk to you about some comments you made to the media on Friday. Is that really how you feel?
Lavoy looks up from his iPhone. He had been watching kittens playing with yarn on Youtube.
Lavoy: Did you say something?
Doug: That's it! I've had enough! Lavoy, you're a good guy but this type of behavior is unacceptable. I have no choice but to bench you for today's game against Cleveland.
Lavoy's still not listening. This time he's transitioned to a rousing game of Doodle Jump. The giggly Temple alum exits Doug's office.
Opening Tip, 3:30 PM.
Lavoy assumes his regular spot on the bench, excited for the game to start.
Justin: Uh, Lavoy? You're sitting on my lap.
Lavoy: I have no idea who you are but you're about to get out of my seat right now!
Collins whips his head around to see the commotion.
Doug: For christ's sake Lavoy, this is Justin Holiday. He's been here for five games now. Justin's our new Guard, and for today he's also going to be assuming your spot on the bench. You are all the way at the end.
Doug Collins points to his left, and Lavoy sheepishly gets off of Justin. As he begins to stand he peers over to where the end of the bench should be. All he sees, however, is an abyss. Doug shoves a screaming Lavoy into the abyss, and he begins to tumble end over end.
Lavoy hears a deep voice, and assumes it is that of god. It's really Tony Battie.
Tony: Stop tumbling, fool! You can stand perfectly fine.
Lavoy: Tony? You're still here? I thought the Sixers let you go.
Tony: What? Listen man, nobody's told me anything. Doug just put me here back in the winter of 2010 and I've been sitting here ever since.
Lavoy: Where exactly is "here"? What is this place?
Tony: Lavoy, this the end of the bench, where all the players who don't play because of coach's decision come. We are the chosen few. This area of the bench is where careers come to die. Hey, you seen Lou around here lately? I've been thinking about getting an armpit tattoo and I don't know what to-
Lavoy: Lou went back to Atlanta. Go back to that part about careers dying.
Tony: Oh, yes. You see, as soon as you find out you're getting the DNP-CD, your career is kaput. You come down here to the end of the bench. You become the cheerleader on the roster. You're not allowed into the locker room for halftime. Sometimes you have to rub Spencer Hawes bunions. But hey, getting paid right? Haha!
Tony lets out an awkward laugh, followed by a heavy sigh.
Lavoy: And you've had to sit here alone?
Tony: Of course not! Got a new buddy this year. He's right over-Kwame! Stop eating your boogers right now!
Kwame Brown, the former number one pick in the 2001 draft, takes his finger out of his mouth and places it down by his side. He slumps over next to Tony Battie.
Lavoy: Kwame, how long have you been on the DNP list?
Kwame: Uh...I don't know...off and on for four years.
He holds up three fingers.
Lavoy: You enjoy it down here?
Kwame: It's okay. I have a nice salary and get to watch some good basketball every night. But it's not much fun.
He turns to Battie, who is now wearing onesie pajamas and is fast asleep.
Kwame: I just feel...unappreciated. You know how many games it has been since I've played? Twenty-seven. Today will be my twenty-eighth. I am a human, Lavoy, I have feelings. One time, I would love Coach Collins to come down here and check on me. Ask me if I'm okay. He asked me to mop up the floor once! Do I look like a ball boy?
Lavoy shakes his head no.
Kwame: Did you know, Lavoy, that turtles abandon their babies right after birth, forcing them to fend for themselves in this cruel world? I am a baby turtle. I have been abandoned. All of us at the end of the bench are baby turtles. Right, Tony?
Tony does not awake.
Kwame: There are two games left after today. That means you have....you have...eleven quarters left to impress the coaches and prove to them you have a long and wonderful career ahead of you. Do it for all of us. And by the way, grab a doctor on your way back. I'm not sure if Tony is still alive.
Primoz Brezac appears out of nowhere and places his hand on Lavoy's shoulder. A single tear runs down his cheek.
Primoz: Go on, friend.
Lavoy runs back through the abyss, and finds himself with the rest of the team. He makes his way over to Doug.
Lavoy: Doug! It's Lavoy! I'm sorry. I deserved not to play today, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. I appreciate everything you've taught me over the past season, life lessons I'll never forget.
Lavoy: Like...like...listen, that's not the point. Just please don't bench me again?
Doug and Lavoy embrace. At the end of the bench, Kwame's facial expression resembles something of a smile. For the first time in his life, he is content. Nobody remembers to give Tony Battie the medical attention he desperately needs.