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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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Travis wants to play for the Detroit Pistons, like Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.

Next one is up. It's good!

Instead he will pour concrete and drive a truck. He will have six children by three women.

Travis Smith. All the pressure on his shoulders. Does he make it? No. We've got overtime.

Travis fouls out 59 seconds into overtime. Five Chiefs standing.

One night five years later, on Jan. 26, 1997, he will quarrel with one of his former teammates. Travis will borrow a pistol and find the man in a drugstore parking lot and raise the gun and pull the trigger.

Robert Collier gets the ball. Robert may have to be the guard. He takes it down the floor.

Sixteen years later Robert's name will still come up in conversation at Friday's, a restaurant in Stevenson, especially at the table known as the Liars' Table, where retired men gather to tell tall tales over biscuits and gravy. The memory of this game will be one of the few things that can stop them from talking football. David Smith, the boys' old ag-science teacher, will stop by occasionally.

"You hope," Smith will say, referring to Robert and the magical game, "that will be a turning point in his life. You hope and pray." He'll think about Robert for a moment. "I don't know where Robert's at right now," he'll say.

It's a two-point game in favor of Fort Payne, 64--62. Comes in to Stafford Henry, off to Chad Cobb.

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