The Worm

The truth about SheBron: There isn't any.

Worm's thinking: What if SheBron -- Alton's middle-school hoopster phenom -- did the down-and-dirty with basketball prodigy LeBron James?

Would the result be Baby BronBron, the bitchingest baller of the millennium? Wouldn't Adidas, Nike or Reebok kill to make that endorsement deal?

All it'd take is Rod the Guv's dropping Illinois' age of consent to twelve -- and LeBron, the Hummer-driving, vintage-jersey-accepting, NBA likely number-one draft prospect, could do the rest.

Then again, it'd also help if there really was a Sheila Bronson.

As discerning readers of "SheBron's Truth," Mike Seely's cover story in last week's Riverfront Times, eventually figured out: Although there's a LeBron and there are plenty of boobs in the surreal world of organized sports, there is, alas, no SheBron.

The truth about "SheBron Truth": There isn't any.

A twelve-year-old capable of soaring over the heads of the area's best male high-school prospects, effortlessly hitting three-pointers and dunking like Kobe Bryant should have seemed ridiculous to most people.

And, in fairness, some readers had doubts. "Your article was a spoof, wasn't it? If not, why didn't you quote any of the male high-school players?" a local lawyer asked. For another reader, a six-pack hung in the balance: He was betting SheBron was an early April Fool's joke; his buddy believes everything in the RFT.

Others, including a handful of local journalists, took the bait. A local TV sports director angled for a broadcast scoop, promising to feature the story in his news report: "Excellent article ... I didn't know about her until reading the RFT today." An area college sports-information director asked: "Where can we see her play? [I'd] like a chance to see the real deal." The Alton Telegraph assigned a scribe to track down SheBron; frustrated, he turned to Seely for help. Several sports-talk stations also lined Seely up as a guest; some as far away as LA made inquiries.

Reaction in Cleveland, where the Scene -- a sister newspaper -- picked up the piece, was muted. Worm's theory? People who'd vote for Dennis Kucinich are capable of believing anything.

Bernie Miklasz, the affable Post-Dispatch sports columnist, got it. Calling Seely's handiwork "delightful" and "wicked," Miklasz wrote in the newspaper's Saturday edition: "Seely exposed a larger truth: the preposterous, almost demented, amount of hype of teenage (or even preteen) basketball players in our culture."

Then Miklasz announced plans to quit the P-D in order to become Bruce Springsteen's butler.

For real.

After all, would a worm pull your leg?