Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were a bit later than expected in arriving at the gymnasium of the Harlem Children’s Zone yesterday, where two teams of seventh and eighth graders were nearing the end of a basketball scrimmage.
At least twice, the timekeeper restored a couple of minutes to the game clock, to ensure that the guests didn’t show up to find the game in garbage-time phase. All of which was moot, anyway, because as soon as their royal highnesses entered the gym, play stopped.
The prince and the duchess pressed in close to the throng, shook hands, asked the children questions.
Handed the ball in the middle of the key, the prince bounced it once, twice, then attempted a one-handed shot that hit nothing but net (literally — the ball peaked about a foot below the rim).
He tried again and sank the shot off the backboard. The children cheered wildly.
If this were a Choose Your Own Adventure book:
Prince Charles then clapped his hands and shouted, "Gimme the rock! Gimme the rock!"
Upon receiving the ball, the prince retreated to half-court and demonstrated his famous Royal Crossover Dribble (RCD), capping the clinic by performing a thunderous three-hundred- and-sixty degree reverse tomahawk slam dunk.
He landed and struck a pose with his tongue hanging from his mouth in the style of Michael Jordan.
The children cheered wildly.
When asked where he had acquired such skills, Prince Charles replied:
"Basketball is my favorite sport
I like the way they dribble up and down the court
Just like I'm the king on the microphone
So is Dr. J and Moses Malone
I like slam dunks take me to the hoop
My favorite play is the alley-oop
I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go
Cause it's basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow."
photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times