this," Johnson says, pointing at the Lamborghini, "right here."
The valet nods and
What might be
confusing the valet is that Johnson has four cars parked within a one-mile
radius of this South Beach intersection. There is this Lamborghini, a classic
1973 Chevrolet Caprice parked back on Euclid Ave., a black Dodge Charger down
the block and a Cadillac Escalade somewhere in the neighborhood. Johnson's crew
rolled up to Wet Willie's in South Beach a few hours ago in Chad's various
rides and held court at a second-floor round table, his old neighborhood
buddies Vest Jones and J.B. Blige and Chad's half brother, Sam Brown, ordering
frozen drinks with names like Call A Cab and Attitude Improvement, and plates
of quesadillas and nachos, while Johnson nursed a bottle of water. (He doesn't
drink alcohol.) The boys were talking about a high school football game that
night--"What time is Miami Central playing? They good?"--when a
gorgeous sister in a tight white tank top and white jeans walked up and
squeezed Johnson from behind, slid her hands into one of his oversized pants
pockets and said, "Where you been, Pocket Boy?"
Johnson said, smiling, "she been stalking me. What's up? Where you
you?" the woman responded. "You been stalking me."
and rubbed his cheek against the woman's side. "O.K.," he said.
"Don't get mad."
"I can't stay
mad at you," she said, smiling.
Now here she is
again, out here on Ocean Drive, strolling over all bouncy and well-coiffed.
Johnson slides over to her, around a sidewalk table where a family has been
trying to focus on its chicken wings, and gives her a reassuring hug. "I'll
call you later," he promises.
Where is that damn
At 28, Chad
Johnson is in the prime of a career that may be redefining what has become the
most mediagenic position in professional sports--and its hottest in terms of
controversy. The genealogy of the blinged-out, outspoken, touchdown-celebrating
wide receiver runs straight from Keyshawn Johnson through Randy Moss and
Terrell Owens. Chad Johnson's predecessors were dominant athletes on the field,
naturally gifted and defiantly assertive playmakers who could change a game, or
a season, with one grab. They became exemplars of what is transcendent about
modern professional football (there may be nothing more beautiful in pro sports
than a perfectly executed up route) and what is maddening about it (huge egos
can destroy a team's chemistry). Though compulsively watchable, those once
putative heirs to Jerry Rice appear destined to be ultimately disappointing, as
they lug their heavy baggage from team to team.