Chris Andersen, the illustrated man

Back on stage, last season's NBA champions sway and fidget to Pharrell Williams' "Happy." They clown and scowl and sing and clap. LeBron looks out over the heads of the crowd, looks far off into the dazzle and absently mouths the words. Here come bad news talkin' this and that. It is the worst most beautiful place ever. Then the Family Festival is over and there is nothing left for anyone to do but drive home and win another championship. Bosh. LeBron. Wade. Allen. Chris Andersen, the Birdman, is neither the first nor the last to leave the stage. The fans keep watching long after the music ends and he walks away with the others, up the ramp and past the arena, the fans watching even when it's impossible to see him, crossing the sand and trailing a long shadow, rising out of sight against the horizon of the sea. He has let go of everything that ever let go of him.

The next tattoo, already sketched and laid out for the length of his calf, is the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

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