Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 9



In chapter nine of Basketball Jones, AJ does a very stupid thing with Cisco that makes me yell at him forever and causes me to get philosophical issues, again. You are not prepared. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

Someone once told me that pride can only be found in people who live a very hard life. They claimed that people who don’t struggle have zero pride because they would never know what fighting for something that you want to have is like. I don’t think that’s true. Pride is in all of us, even though it’s surfaced in others quicker than most. Pride is there, and it definitely lies dormant in everyone, but I don’t think AJ knows what pride is.

  The reason why I say that is because of this chapter. In the beginning of the chapter, AJ and Cisco are working out when Cisco utters news that makes my mouth fall to the floor as if it were on hinges.

“So that’s some good news about your boi?”

“What news?”

Cisco continued to push my back forward. “He and his old lady are having a baby.”

I turned around to face Cisco. “What?”

“Yeah, my boi Teddy, who’s Dray’s cousin, told me his old lady is knocked up. I thought you knew. You two being tight and all,” Cisco said, with a hint of innuendo.

So, Dray gets Judy pregnant and doesn’t even tell AJ? How can people seriously like Drey? This isn’t just some, oops, I goofed, kind of thing. this is a conscious act to have sex without protection. How in the world can AJ love Dray? How can AJ just put up with this kind of foolishness?

AJ quickly tells Cisco to leave and then calls Drey on his cell phone to give him a thing or two, but what I am noticing is that AJ doesn’t even tell Dray how he feels, he just yells at Dray, as if that will do anything, and doesn’t even tell Dray what’s on his mind and how hurt he is. He just gets all hot and simmering, yelling at Dray through a cell phone.

I’ve noticed that a lot about AJ, though. He doesn’t say what he’s thinking about out loud, directly to people. He just keeps everything inside, and the reader’s the only one lucky enough to get this kind of information.

This tells me that AJ is so withdrawn that he doesn’t even want to explore or even display what he is anymore, because he’s so afraid of losing what he has with Dray, the security and the like, and this totally breaks my heart wide open! You are not prepared for my feelings!

This seriously makes me want to jump through the pages and slap AJ across the face. Dray doesn’t have a good understanding of love and the kinda love that makes people happy and what binds people together. He doesn’t even understand why this is hurting AJ so badly, and the really bad thing is that AJ won’t even tell him! I’m going to start yelling at fictional characters!

AJ, look, what the hell are you thinking. Surely you have to know that Drey isn’t going to get that you are hurt by this news. You have to spell everything out for him because he’s a dummy! He’s stupid in terms of relationships! Why aren’t you doing that! This is maddening, AJ! Why are you even with him again, aside from the money and nice things? I could never be with such a twat!

Oh gosh, scenes that can make me yell at fictional characters always are examples of good character development!

The two continue to have a spat, and Dray defends himself by assimilating that AJ knew that Dray wanted kids, and he knew that  Dray has to keep an image because he has to keep his job, and he doesn’t even let AJ know that he understands why AJ is even hurting, feeling sad.

Dray, you have a LOT to learn! Gosh. How can ANYONE like you? I don’t like you at all. Hope you know this.

He even goes as far as to question AJ about the night when he was with Jade at the bar, and then when AJ assures Dray that she’s a friend only, I don’t know how Dray can think she’s anything more when AJ is clearly an “out” gay man. He blurts out the below as an afterthought.

“You need to be careful who you hang with. Bitches are nosy as hell, boi.”

Dray, seriously, shut up! How can you even sit there and tell AJ that? You have a lot of nerve! Shut, up! Why don’t you say, “I trust you?” You are not showing good character here! I want to slap you!

I don’t think that Dray has a lot of pride either, now that I am thinking about it. What constitutes pride for me is a state of being that people can be whoever they want to be without any regard to other people’s thoughts and/or desires. This includes being gay. Surely Dray HAS to know that in the bigger world, there are people who will definitely fight for his equality, as someone who’s in the LGBT community. The fact that he doesn’t even want to acknowledge that he’s gay is beyond frustrating to me, partly because I am not in the closet by any means. I understand that there are those straight people who will hate and who will spew discrimination on the basis of whatever and that will hinder me in life and even some employment sectors, if that ever happens, but I do know, and I know quite well, that things are not that way all of the time and that I should be honest about my status as a gay man and just let the work show itself in many different ways, by my diligence and the like. Hiding it draws attention to it more, and some people may even have the notion that if I had kept this secret, then I have others as well, such as that of being a drug dealer. I don’t understand why Dray can’t be out, and I don’t understand why he’s living this double lifestyle completely. I get it on the surface level, but this seems like a lot more hardship than either AJ or Drey deserve. This makes me kind of mad that Drey is just using AJ to exact some temporary fantasy. In chapter five, yes, I thought Dray loved AJ, but now I am not sure at all. It looks like AJ is just a fantasy of a straight guy wanting to be gay, and this really creams my corn. If you can’t even be true to yourself, then you should not even TRY a relationship with anybody, same sex or opposite. This is beyond heartbreaking to me!

Dray, why do you do this? I don’t understand you!

AJ hangs up the phone, and then the chapter jumps to later in the evening. Cisco is at the door, and AJ is surprised to see him there. Cisco has wine, and claims he’s there to see how AJ is doing, but AJ and I are not dummies. We know he’s there to have sex with AJ, and AJ actually lets him!

AJ, no! Stop! What are you doing! What? Oh my god, don’t you have any clue as to the kind of drama that you will cause? I don’t care if you’re mad, even though you definitely deserve to be mad… but…. oh my god! Stop it, stop it, stop it! How about communicating with Dray a bit more? Oh my god.

When Cisco massages AJ on the back, Cisco tries to finger AJ, and then AJ finally comes to his senses and demands of Cisco, quite frankly, “What the hell are you doing?” Yes, I have that SAME question Cisco, What the fuck are you doing?

It turns out that Cisco isn’t even gay at all, and that he just has anal sex, where he’s the top, with guys just so he can get a little extra cash. Are you serious? Seriously? Just to make some extra cash? Oh my god! This is when Dray should fire Cisco, like, right now, but Dray is not here to see this or to fire him, but I want to see him get fired!

AJ tells Cisco to leave. He does, and the chapter ends.

AJ seriously needs to learn communication skills. He doesn’t even tell Dray what happens in his life, and I’m sure that AJ will keep this quiet as well, but he shouldn’t! He should tell Dray what has been happening when Dray has been gone. There are a lot of things that he should do. Let’s see if he starts doing them in the chapters to come. If not, I may just break out the caps lock key.

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