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2 on 5
THOMAS LAKE
December 08, 2008
One night in 1992, in a small town in Alabama, the North Jackson Chiefs won a game against seemingly insurmountable odds. Then came the crashes and the gunshots and one man's fateful choice
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December 08, 2008

2 On 5

One night in 1992, in a small town in Alabama, the North Jackson Chiefs won a game against seemingly insurmountable odds. Then came the crashes and the gunshots and one man's fateful choice

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Fort Payne leads 59--58 with about 1:15 to go. Another whistle, like fingernails on a blackboard.

And we've got a foul called. They're gonna call it on Chad Cobb.

Somehow this is Chad's first foul. He is Robert Collier's distant cousin, a grinning coil of muscle and fist, the quickest Chief and probably the shortest. He is only 5'8", but his vertical leap is so good that the coach sometimes puts him at center court for the opening tip.

Chad rides his Yamaha along the ridges above town, daring the hillbillies to chase him, and he drag-races in the streets, leaving long black rubber trails. Robert sometimes rides on the back, big man on a little bike, one arm around Chad's midsection at 100 mph, popping wheelies, jumping hills, leaning together on sharp curves, running from their enemies. Chad has Robert's trust. They never crash and never get caught.

Fort Payne makes both free throws to lead by three. Aftear a Chiefs turnover a Wildcat is fouled but misses the front end of a one-and-one. The Chiefs rebound with 45 seconds left.

Still got a chance. Sixty-one to 58.... Out to Chad Cobb. Needs to crank up for three!

Chad was a small-boned kid who took his share of whippings growing up. Lately he has been doing the whipping, especially on the white boys who hurl rocks and the n-word in his general direction.

He puts it up from three—

Chad is a streetballer: fast and reckless, prone to turnovers and wild shots, feet sometimes kicking to the side on his jumper.

—it's no good.

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