The voice comes from the little Metallic speaker in the drive-through lane at the Arby's roast beef restaurant. Can I help you, sir? Horace Grant is in the driver's seat of a rental van. Harvey Grant is riding in the passenger's seat. Horace asks Harvey what he would like to eat.
"I'll have the beef-and-cheddar sandwich," Harvey says to Horace.
"Two beef-and-cheddar sandwiches," Horace says to the speaker.
"An order of cheddar fries...."
November 9, 1992
"Two orders of cheddar fries...."
"And a large diet Coke."
"Two large diet Cokes."
Twins. One voice merges into another voice, no noticeable change in inflection or accent, the size of the order simply enlarged by a multiple of two. One face looks into another face and sees the same face. Take these two men, from the same womb and the same environment, split them apart by a thousand miles or so for a few years, give them some money and a certain notoriety, dress them in $1,000 suits, then bring them back together again for a moment. What is different? Nothing. Twins.
"Ask for some salt," Harvey says.
"Could we have a couple of packages of salt?" Horace asks.
They are driving from Sparta, Ga., to Atlanta, a two-hour trip from the backwoods quiet of their youth to the hub-airport confusion of their present. What a day. They have visited Hancock Central High in Sparta, where coach Arthur Daniels used to make one of them wear a maroon headband at basketball practice and the other a gold headband, then always forgot which one had the maroon and which one had the gold. They have visited their mom, Grady Mae Grant, back at the small house in the half-deserted government tract neighborhood in the woods. Same house they grew up in. They have stared at the spot where they used to play in the front yard, the grass still unable to grow where they dribbled the ball. The sweet gum tree that held the basket is gone, dead from too much shaking and abuse. Only the stump remains.
"Remember the ball would roll into the garden?" Horace says. "That was the big rule—the ball had better not roll into the garden."
"Kill our mother's collard greens," Harvey says. "You'd have to sneak into the garden, real quiet, to get the ball. 'Cause if our mother heard you...."
"She'd come out with the switch...."
"Just hit you everywhere on your body."
They both are a bit too big to be hit anywhere—Horace is a little taller, at 6'10"; Harvey is 6'9". Horace is also heavier, at 235 pounds, with Harvey at 220. They are 27 years old, Horace first into this world by a nine-minute margin, which he has mentioned for most of his years as the reason that he is a little bigger, a little stronger, a little smarter and much better looking. Harvey does not agree with most of these assessments.
Horace is the power forward, the prime character actor in two Chicago Bull championships, taking the ball off the backboard for superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He'll earn $2 million for the 1992-93 season. Harvey is the so-called small forward, a reluctant but wealthy Washington Bullet, owner of a new six-year, $17.1 million contract that was obtained on July 17 when the Bullets matched a free-agent offer by the New York Knicks. Horace and Harvey. Harvey and Horace. Horace says he won all games in their youth, in one-on-one competition, all of the time. Harvey does not agree with this assessment.
"Harvey hung around with the pretty boys in high school," Horace says. "Always wanted to look good. Thinking about clothes. Hollywood. He always was Hollywood."
"Horace hung out with the bad guys," Harvey says. "All these muscle guys, with their teeth out, with scars on their cheeks. You'd see these guys coming, you'd walk the other way. Horace always thought he was a tough guy. He'd steal the food off my plate at dinner."
"I never stole it," Horace says. "I just took it."
The lockstep of their boyhood and adolescence is forever. That seems the rule. Brothers sometimes can drift apart, growing at different stages, but twins? The food was the same food at the same time. Every day. Every meal. The clothes were the same clothes, Grady Mae dressing her identical boys until they were 12 in identical outfits, but sewing a different color thread inside each shirt and each pair of pants in an attempt to avoid arguments about possession. The experiences were the same experiences, matching steps taken on the same paths, tests taken under the eyes of the same teachers, lessons learned at the same time.
"We always slept in the same room," Horace says.
"We pulled our beds right together," Harvey says. "That's how we slept every night. Right next to each other. We'd hold each other's hand during storms."
"I always wanted to know where he was," Horace says. "I wouldn't go to sleep unless I knew he was next to me. I'd wake up in the middle of the night, edge my foot over, just to feel for his foot. To know he was still there."
Life in Sparta was rural and basic. The countryside was a playground without fences. There wasn't much money—Grady Mae and her husband divorced when the twins were small; an older sister and a younger brother also were among the children in the small house—but if you don't see a lot of people with a lot of money, how do you know you need it? Horace was known as the quiet twin. Harvey was more outgoing. They were two slender kids, growing out of their clothes at the same time, Horace always in the lead, Harvey soon to follow. They had none of the terrors of big-city living, the neighbors being quick to report any transgressions they spotted.
This did not mean that there was no trouble. Twins can find trouble without finding anyone else. Did they have fights? They fought each other everywhere. Every day. Every way. The best one ended when Harvey took a kitchen fork and stuck it in Horace's...well, stuck it in the meat of Horace's nine-minute-older backside. Grady Mae was not home, so Horace simply left the fork in his rear end as evidence. Harvey pleaded with him to remove the fork, please. Horace said that evidence was evidence. Grady Mae caught sight of it and went for Harvey with the switch. Horace suddenly was pleading with her not to hit his brother. He said Harvey really didn't mean to stick that fork in his backside.
"We're in the NBA," Horace says. "The first time we played against each other, I'm going in for a dunk. Harvey comes from behind and just hits me upside the head! Wipes me out. I didn't know what hit me. Someone says, as we're running down the floor, 'Horace, that was your brother who did that.' I say, 'He's done a lot worse than that.' "
Through everything there was the constant confusion, the fare of all Haylcy Mills movies ever made about twins. Which was which? Who was who? There were not a lot of tricks, but a few. One twin once went to a class for another. One twin said that he had done his own chores and that the other had not. Little things. There also were touches of that psychic connection that twins supposedly have. One seemed almost eerie.
"We were about 12 or 13," Horace says. "I had a dream one night that I had been given a new Corvette. I was driving it everywhere. I woke up and told Harvey my dream. He said he'd had the exact same dream."
"The only difference was that his Corvette was red," Harvey says. "Mine was yellow. Same dream. Same night."
The basketball started in high school. The coach's wife was a reading specialist and spotted the twins in the library. She wrote a note to her husband and had Harvey deliver it. The note said something like, "Do you think this kid can help your team? There's another one just like him in the library, too." The boy was 6'6" and weighed 135 pounds. The coach figured he could use one, O.K., two kids that size.
Horace, with that nine-minute edge and his tough-guy disposition, was the early achiever on all levels. The part of the game that interested him was close to the basket, pounding people out of the way for rebound layups. Harvey liked the outside life of a jump shooter. Hollywood. In high school he worked on his shot and worked on it, taking tips from the coach. When he finally knocked home four in a row in an early game, he touched the coach's knee on the way back upcourt.
"I got it now, Coach," Harvey said. "I got it now."
The college choice was Clemson, mostly because there weren't many other choices. What coaches traveled to Sparta on great recruiting missions? For the longest time the twins thought nobody had seen them. Their only option was Anderson (S.C.) Junior College. They were ready to go to Anderson. Clemson, which had scouted them in only one game, was a late arrival. O.K., Clemson.
"We'd never been anywhere," Horace says. "Never been to Atlanta. Nowhere."
"Now we're in this huge college," Harvey says.
"We go there and we're roommates. Harvey never does his laundry. He never has clean clothes."
"Never have clean clothes? It's because you were always wearing my clothes. You were taking everything. That's why I moved out, roomed with someone else the second semester."
Again, Horace was in the lead. A bigger lead now. He was a part-timer as a freshman, averaging 20 minutes a game. Harvey was redshirted. This put him at a much, much slower pace for the first time in his life. Horace would be done with college eligibility in four years. Harvey's would stretch for five. Not a pleasant thought.
After a second year at Clemson, largely on the bench, Harvey was dismissed from the team for violating team rules and wound up at Independence (Kans.) Junior College. It was 1985-86. The break was made. Horace moved along, on a straight line: Clemson standout, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year as a senior, the Bulls' No. 1 draft choice in 1987, 10th overall. Harvey put in the year at junior college—surviving some legal problems created by his involvement in the theft of some stereo equipment—made J.C. All-America and transferred to Oklahoma. Freed from demands to play like his brother, Harvey played his own game. He was the jump shooter, the scorer. In his senior year he also was a suddenly affluent jump shooter-scorer.
"I sent him money from Chicago," Horace says. "I'd send him about a thousand dollars every month."
"Everybody thought I was getting money under the table from the school or something," Harvey says. "I really was getting it from my brother. If people wanted to think something else, that was fine. I never told them differently. Horace sent me $10,000 that year. I paid it all back once I started to make money."
"I sent you $12,500. You still owe me $2,500."
"No, I don't. You sent me $10,000. I paid that back."
Whatever. Harvey averaged 21 points and almost 10 rebounds per game that year. Oklahoma lost the NCAA tournament championship game to Kansas. In 1988 he was drafted in the first round by the Bullets, 12th overall.
Horace is more widely known after five years with the Bulls, distinguished easily by the white goggles he has worn for the past two seasons. These are not protective goggles. They are prescription eyeglasses. Horace finds it is easier to play basketball if he can see the basket. Harvey does not wear goggles. His four years with the Bullets have been far quieter as he has gradually played better and better, becoming an important piece on a struggling team. His seasons have ended much sooner than Horace's seasons.
"I came out to watch you win that first championship," Harvey says. "I was really rooting for you. I wanted you to win."
"I told you we were going to do it," Horace says to Harvey.
"I wouldn't come last year. Last year, I didn't want you to win. I didn't want to see it."
"I told you last year, too, we were going to do it. Remember I called you? When we were drinking the champagne?"
Horace describes his role with the Bulls: There never has been a play in the offense designed to give him a shot. All of his points have had to be adlibbed points, leftovers, points scored when Jordan or Pippen missed or were double-teamed. He says he averages only nine shots per game, not a lot, and wonders what he could do with more. What would happen if someone were actually trying to shake him free to score? Harvey says he averages 15 shots a game and sometimes takes a lot more than that.
"What I want now is to win a championship," Harvey says. "I've done all the other things I wanted to do. I made the league, I got playing time, I got the money. Now, I want the ring."
"You need patience in this league," Horace says. "Things come to you. I'm waiting for the money. Two more years and my contract's up."
Harvey hit the big-money payoff under strange circumstances. He had wanted to sign a new contract with the Bullets a year ago for a nice figure—say, $6 million for four years. Wasn't that a fair price on the market? The Bullets didn't want to deal. The negotiations stretched into the season, and he decided, after talking with his agent, Jimmy Sexton, that he would play out the final year of his existing contract and become a free agent. He had no idea what would happen.
"The season is over, and I'm home," Harvey says. "I get a call from Jimmy. He says that I probably should get up to New York as soon as possible, that the Knicks are going to make an offer. I take the first flight I can. We wind up in a room with all of the Knicks people. They give me the offer...$17 million for six years. I just stared at the numbers. My stomach started churning. I had to leave the room. All that money. Plus, I'd be playing with the Knicks—with Patrick Ewing."
The Bullets begrudgingly matched the figure. They charged at first that the Knicks tampered with Harvey before July 1, the day he officially became a free agent. They instituted legal proceedings. All of that has been handled now; the Knicks were declared not guilty. But an aftertaste remains. Harvey still wishes he were a Knick. Why would the Bullets sign him and try to hurt him at the same time? Thoughts about a team being "family" have disappeared. Why would a dad try to hurt one of his children?
"I read a quote, something the general manager said: 'Well, $17 million can make a lot of people forget that they're unhappy,' " Harvey says. "That's not the point. The money's good, sure, but there's principle involved here, too. This is always going to be in the back of my mind, what the Bullets did. I should be a Knick. I see right where I should be playing."
"They got Tony Campbell instead of you," Horace says. "Tony Campbell's going to be playing your spot."
"It would have been nice. The Knicks."
The conversation continues all the way to Hartsfield Airport. Easy talk, natural, the sentences of one brother blending with the sentences of the other. Twins. Has there ever been a set of twins in American sport to reach the same level of success? Let's see, there were the Van Arsdales in basketball and the O'Briens long ago in baseball and the Gulliksons in tennis...but, no. Probably not. Horace and Harvey. Harvey and Horace. Their mother has a large picture of two tigers on her living room wall, a leftover from the Clemson times. One tiger is snarling; one has its mouth closed. She says the snarling one probably is Horace. Other than that, the tigers look alike. The rest of the wall is covered with citations and plaques. Trophies are on the floor.
"Most of them are mine," Horace says.
"They are not," Harvey says. "I've got as many as you...."
"You know I've got more trophies than you."
"No, I don't."
Twins. A woman spots them as they hurry toward their separate gates to find planes that will take them to their separate destinations and their separate lives. She tells her daughter that those two men are basketball players and that they are from Georgia and that their name is Grant. One is Horace and one is Harvey, but she has no idea which is which. No idea at all.