Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” – Chapter Two

In chapter two of Basketball Jones I am introduced to a character that places AJ into a better perspective. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Friends are a wonderful wash of clarity among everything else in our lives. Friends can help us see a certain truth that we may not be able to see on our own.

I assumed that AJ didn’t have any friends but I was dead wrong. He appears to have one, openly gay, very good friend who doesn’t know about him and Dray. The friends name is Maurice, and this chapter is the introduction to Maurice. Why? I don’t know. I’m assuming that Maurice, or Mo, will make a huge impact on the story. Something tells me that the dynamic that AJ has with his best gay black friend – I haven’t met many white people in the story yet — will be a huge conflict barrier or filler.

This chapter isn’t very long at all. It’s only a few pages and it’s a phone conversation between two types of personalities. What’s Mo like? Mo is the kind of friend that’s the definition of a strong presence. I can’t quite tell if he has such a personality because this personality will be an important thing in the future, or if Mo is supposed to be just comic relief from the drama that will surely go down.

AJ confides a lot in Mo, but somehow Mo doesn’t even know about Dray. I guess when you’re in a closeted relationship you become so skilled at lying and keeping secrets that you could list it as a hard skill set.

Maurice was my closest gay male friend and one of the first people I had met when I’d moved to Atlanta. Still, he didn’t know who “old boi” was. Maurice didn’t know that Dray was one of the NBA’s biggest superstars. It wasn’t that I felt I couldn’t trust Maurice. It was that I’d given Drayton my word that I would never tell anyone about our relationship.

The two friends talk about all kinds of things, some of which I don’t understand because it deals with a black man on trial for doing “some white shit and taking the heat”, but I don’t know what “some white shit” is, so I will just shake my head in confusion and carry on reading.

Even though not a lot of action is taking place in this chapter, I’m introduced to an interesting parallel. AJ has a good life but AJ isn’t free at all. He had to get his degree in secret. I’m not surprised, then again, I am. Does Dray even care that AJ wants to have some sort of security if Dray just decides to dump AJ? the problem about this kind of relationship is that if something happens and it’s over, one of them is left shoved into the world and told to figure out what to do now. Since Dray has the money, I can definitely guarantee you that if this ever did happen then AJ would need something to fall back on, hence the degrees. Dray should understand this!

Mo is definitely a free spirit. He’s free to think anything aloud if he wishes, and he may not have the kind of security that AJ is nestled in, but he has a kind of life that he doesn’t have to remember what lie he told his best friend or anything of that nature. Mo is out of the closet and seems to be a lot happier than AJ. Mo has all kinds of opinions, and he’s been trying to figure out who Drey is for the longest time now. Mo definitely has a free life, though he’s struggling, I’m sure.

The dynamic between these is the most interesting out of the conversation, but the chapter is very brief. All it shows is that AJ doesn’t have as secluded social life as I imagined. Yes, I’m wrong. There’s something that I’m sure I’m not wrong about, though. I’m sure that Mo will become an eye opener. Mo will provide some deep insight into something. Perhaps Mo will be a conflict? Perhaps I may be wrong yet again, and this is just a one-time character dump. We’ll just have to read the book to find out.

I do have to wonder, though, just how happy AJ really is if he’s in this kind of relationship? There’s a lot here, but I’m sure that AJ wishes he could have a life like Mo. I wonder if he knows that he and Dray are going to break up, hence why he obtained his degrees in secret. I don’t know and I will have to read on to find out. Stay tuned as we read chapter three next week!


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