If I could dunk on anyone, I would dunk on Mike Iuzzolino.

Mike Iuzzolino played for the Dallas Mavericks from 1991-1993, but is most hated by me because he was one of the two guys chosen for the Mavericks in NBA Jam.  And since the Mavericks were the first team you played, sometimes he would kick my ass even if I picked the Orlando Magic with Scott Skiles and Shaq.  Let me say that again: SHAQUILLE O’NEAL!

In my dreams, I would see Mike at an Italian Restaurant (he is Italian) and he would totally think I was some guy who just wanted an autograph.

I would roll up to him and say “Hey Mike, Mike Iuzzolino.” And he would try to ignore me, so I would get louder.  “Mike ‘Dallas Mavericks’ Iuzzolino! Look over here” and he would still try to ignore me.  So I would take some of my bread roll it into a ball and make a perfect shot from my table to his wine glass.

The bread would make a splash and it would get all over his new white shirt.  “What the fuck?” he would say, and then he would get mad.  Italians have short tempers.

He turns around and says “who the hell threw a piece of bread into my Chianti?”

Then I would stand up and say “the guy who threw that perfect swish was me.  What are you gonna do about it?”

Mike would then get up and walk towards me, and by now tons of people are taking photos, there is even a guy with a videocamera recording the whole thing.

He gets right up in my face and says “well you listen to me, little man, I don’t think it’s very polite to throw bread into people’s wine.”  And I would be all “you left your glass wide open, just like you used to do in the NBA.”  And then everyone in the restaurant would be all “ooooooohhhhh,” like an episode of Family Matters. Which is especially appropriate since Reginald Veljohnson is at the resaurant eating a whole tray of Lasagna and giving me the thumbs up.

There is total awkward silence and Mike is getting super angry when I raise one finger in the air and yell “digitize.”  Instantly everyone in the restaurant is inserted into the NBA Jam video game.  Reginald’s Lasagna is even digital!

Mike looks around and smiles.  “Oh you just made a big mistake punk.  You just made me into my most successful form.”

Then I say, “oh no, not today.”  We don’t have teammates, it’s just one on one.  He has his Mavericks Jersey but I’m wearing a generic jersey because I don’t want to claim affiliation or let him try to spit some baloney about how the programmers gave my team special powers.

The ref is about to throw the jump ball, but then our heads get all big and on my side it says “POWER UP DUNKS.”  Everyone hears Mike say “oh no.”  And he’s right, it’s about to be big time trouble.

I get the ball and instantly my shoes turn red, which means only one thing: turbo.  I approach that hoop and I can see that Mike is totally scared.  I take on step before the free throw line and the announcer goes “oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” And then I start doing a helicopter and I leave the screen for a second because I’m so high.  Then I come back down and dunk so hard that Iuozzolino is thrown to the floor and the backboard breaks and shatters right down onto him.

“BOOM SHAKALAKA”

Instantly we are returned to the Italian restuarant but we’re still in our sweet basketball uniforms and Mike is covered in glass.

Then I take my bill and drop it on his unconscious body and say “thanks for dinner, no need to thank me for the dunk.  It’s on the house.”

Louis Poppadopolis hopes that one day Kobe Bryant will play for Olympiakos

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