Sunlight tries to seep in through the drawn curtains. A lone bird chirps defiantly outside on an unusually crisp morning in Syracuse, NY. It is 6 a.m. Baye Moussa Keita has been awake for 4 hours.
*Though this is a work of fiction, please note that you could totally buy this whole story.
It is not that Baye struggles with sleep and night time, far from it, in fact. In Baye Keita’s mind though, there are just too many other things he can be doing with his time on his second favorite planet (Baye’s a huge fan of Jupiter because, well, it’s big like him). Much like Will Ferrell’s fictional character in Elf, Baye need only get 40 minutes to an hour of sleep to function effectively, though sometimes he just skips that part of the day entirely. He usually spends the rest of his night building Legos, doodling on his Etch-a-Sketch, and/or editing and playing with his Mii character on his two-year-old Nintendo Wii.
Baye lives alone, yet no one could ever describe him as lonely. He often spends entire days away from his apartment, occupying the couch or living room of his teammates who love him so dearly, yet couldn’t possibly take on the responsibility of living with him full-time.
The alarm clock goes off, and Baye reaches his long right arm up to turn it off, as easy as if he were blocking another Cody Zeller layup. It is 6:15 in the morning, and Baye has just one thing on his mind. He wants to play with the dog of his teammate Rakeem Christmas, which is appropriately named “‘Lil Roc”.
Baye tries to push the urge away, knowing full well that Christmas doesn’t normally wake up until 3 in the afternoon, if he even wakes up for the day at all. But a thought enters Baye’s mind. Maybe, just maybe, Rakeem hasn’t gone to sleep yet after spending a night out celebrating the team’s Final Four run. Baye knows this is unlikely, yet the thought of a simple game of fetch with ‘Lil Roc pushes him to dial Christmas’s cell phone.
The phone rings several times, and disappointment starts to grow in the mind of our hero. But just then…
“…Damn, Baye.” Christmas’s voice is garbled, he’s definitely been snoozing.
“RocIwannacomeplaywithLilRoc”, the excitement of Christmas answering his phone call has overwhelmed Baye to the point that he cannot speak coherently.
Christmas sighs, “Baye, slow down bruh, we talked about this.”
After a few deep breaths, Baye gives it another shot, “Hi Roc it’s early but can I come play with Lil Roc I wanna rub Lil Roc’s belly haha [claps hands]”.
Despite the early hour, and the wake up call, Rakeem can’t help but chuckle. Baye has that effect on people. To know Baye is to love Baye. One of his Syracuse teammates’ favorite Baye stories occurred one day when he went to the store for a bottle of Sunny Delight, and he became upset when he realized he had not brought enough money for a Reese’s Fastbreak, his favorite candy bar. The store owner, seeing Baye’s disappointment, offered it to Baye for free. Two days later, Baye returned with a thank you letter, an autograph, and the $1.50 he owed for the candy… in nickels and dimes. Typical Baye.
Today is going to be a good day. Christmas agrees to let Baye dogsit ‘Lil Roc for the day, so Rakeem can get his much needed 18 hours of sleep. Baye walks the short distance to his teammate’s apartment, and Christmas is there outside waiting with the lovable pitbull named after himself.
“Thank you”, Baye is beaming now, and he gives his teammate a hug that lasts a little too long in the mind of Christmas.
It is afternoon now. Baye has accomplished his goal of tiring out ‘Lil Rock. The day has been spent playing fetch, tug of war, and frisbee toss, though eventually Baye just chased after his own tosses of the frisbee. Baye returns the dog to Christmas, who has just risen from his slumber and his chomping down on about a swimming pool’s worth of Lucky Charms. Rakeem nods his thanks, and Baye says goodbye to man’s best friend though it hurts him so.
Practice is set to begin in an hour, and though Baye has spent more energy today than most Division 1 athletes spend in a season, he will still be the most active and spirited player on the court for the Orange. This is who Baye is. Every day is the best day, and every day after that is better. We should all take life lessons from the 6’10” gentle giant Baye Moussa Keita.
Night has fallen, and Baye dons his nightcap and gets ready for his brief rest. It’s a big day tomorrow, as the team heads down to Atlanta for the school’s first Final Four in 10 years. On tap for tonight? Building a Lego Otto the Orange, free throw practice, and finishing a coloring book.
Just another day in the Life of Baye.