As we all know, Jim and Pam from the hit series, The Office, leave sleepy Scranton, Pennsylvania for their happily-ever-after in Texas. I always believed that Jim was destined for much greater things. For example, “13 Hours” about the Benghazi attacks is a direct sequel to The Office after Jim finds his true calling, being a contractor for the government.
Here’s what I think: Jim makes no secret about the fact that he’s a terrific basketball player. Langston Hughes once asked, “what happens to a dream deferred?” If Jim seems distracted, disengaged or sometimes, apathetic, it’s because he is. He still wonders what could have been if he’d pursued his dreams of playing big-time college basketball.
Ten points, two steals and a dime to Michael Scott in the post. The guy does it all. The Big Tuna made a name for himself at West Scranton High School (PA) but never got his shot.
Let’s forget about Pam, Roy, seasons upon seasons of laughs at Dwight’s expense and even the episode where we discover that Jim is godawful at Call of Duty. Let’s go back in time and change Jim’s life.
Jim is a huge Philly sports fan. Pennsylvania is in his blood. Jim, after leading his team to a state championship is ready to make his decision. Sure, signing day has passed but Jim is conflicted. He’s got an offer from his dream school, Villanova. But Coach K from Duke is calling too. Jim dreams of the NBA one day, but he knows he’s a longshot to make it to the show.
The day has come. Jim has made his decision. Duke and Temple leave decision day disappointed. Jim Halpert will be continuing his career at Villanova.
Jim sees good minutes off the bench, but is never a big contributor. He starts to show flashes of the dominance he displayed at West Scranton towards the end of the season. He doesn’t play a lot but fans are optimistic about the young point guard moving forward.
Villanova comes into the year with huge expectations. Halpert is poised to see more minutes, though he’s still coming off the bench. Two games into the season, Jim suffers a horrific injury, a torn ACL. He’s done for the season. But after successful surgery, it looks like Halpert will be just fine.
Junior Season, THE BIG TUNA is born
Halpert finally has his breakout campaign. He leads Villanova to a 34-1 record while pacing the offense with 17.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 6.2 apg. He is a force on the court. Off the court, he leads somewhat of a high-profile social life. He’s a superstar on social media.
Tuna is attracting a ton of attention and after another Sweet 16 heartbreak, Halpert announces his return to Villanova to finish what he started.
Senior year. Don’t call it a comeback.
Another regular season comes and passes. Jim is the front runner for the prestigious Wooden Award. The Big Tuna leads Villanova to an undefeated regular season. After sweeping right through the conference tournament, Villanova is the scourge of college basketball. March Madness is looming.
Jim’s off-court legend is also growing. He is dating superstar actress Emily Blunt. All the ladies want him, every frat boy in America wants to be him. Big Tuna is America’s national treasure.
Villanova faces 16 seed Phoenix Online in the first round. It was like watching Michael Jordan. Halpert turns in 35 points to go along with 8 assists. With tears in his eyes, Jay Bilas proclaims it the greatest performance of all time. Dick Vitale is babbling incoherent things but the smile on his face says it all.
The Wildcats cruise to the Elite 8 where Michigan State is waiting. Tom Izzo admits he has no plan to stop the Big Tuna. “You can only hope to contain him” Izzo admits. Down 43-28 at half, the situation is dire. Halpert has 11 points but something is amiss. He’s not himself. The coaches’ door opens. Jay Wright is ready to make his speech. Except Coach Wright doesn’t walk through the door. It’s Bluto Blutarsky.
“WAS IT OVER WHEN THE GERMANS BOMBED PEARL HARBOR!?”
Hell no, Senator Blutarsky. Hell no. Halpert comes out and dominates the second half. The Spartans had no answer for the Wildcats, now lead by coaches Blutarsky and Jay Wright. Halpert scores 26 points in the second half while directing an offense that could not be stopped. Final score, 77-55. Big Tuna is going to the Final Four.
The national semifinal against North Carolina goes as planned. Once again, Roy Williams flops when he doesn’t have a decided talent advantage. 84-63, Wildcats.
Villanova finds themselves locked in all-out war against an upstart Cinderella story, the Friars of Providence. The score is tied at half. It’s come down to one half of basketball. The legacy of Jim Halpert is on the line. The All-American point guard knows it.
The second half starts out slow. Providence finds themselves with an eight point lead with just over nine minutes to go. Unfortunately for them, Halpert had one more comeback up his sleeve. Villanova dominated the final nine minutes of the game and pulled away to win an instant classic. 77-73 in one of the best comebacks in NCAA tournament history. Jim Halpert is a national champion.
Jim Halpert married Emily Blunt. While on their honeymoon in Spain, he decided he couldn’t leave. He plays professionally in Spain, he is happy. He still visits Scranton to see his family and friends when he can. And every day he passes by an unspectacular office building and wonders what it would be like had he never pursued his dream. Maybe he’d work there, he wonders. Maybe living in the only home his heart had ever known with his childhood friends wouldn’t be so bad after all. What a waste of talent that would have been.
He stops himself. He looks over at his stone-cold fox of a wife. He recalls the memories he made playing college hoops at the highest level. He thinks of his new life in Spain. He’s content. Most importantly, the Big Tuna is happy.