I was there. I
know what happened and I know what it took. Our hotel was mobbed when we got
back from Rupp Arena. Hundreds of people were waiting in the parking lot,
blocking our bus at the doors to the lobby. People were, jumping up and down on
the tops of cars and clogging the hallway outside our rooms.
championship changes your life around completely. Suddenly, people who hated
your guts hug you. Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of you. There were people
coming out of the woodwork, people who never had a nice thing to say before
this, people who had talked bad about me because they knew I did cocaine. Now
it was like I had a clean slate.
We had a big
parade the next day. We went straight from the airport to downtown Philly,
where about 75,000 people lined the streets. Over the next few weeks we were
wined and dined everywhere. Agents from all over the place were after Ed. They
would take him to dinner and I'd tag along. A good friend of mine, who used to
get me drugs, told me, Ed and Dwayne that he wanted to be our agent. He wanted
to market us, starting with the front of a Wheaties box. Breakfast of
Champions. It sounded good, but nothing ever materialized.
I was drafted in
the seventh round by the New Jersey Nets of the NBA and also by the Wildwood
Aces of the USBL, which has a summer season. I signed with the Aces to play on
the Jersey Shore. As one of the first picks, I was given a little press
conference on campus. I was just happy to be a part of something.
I would make
about $500 a week, which didn't seem bad. But some USBL players were getting
more. The guys I played with told me I'd been taken advantage of. But $500 was
still a lot to me. For a while it would fuel my addiction. The USBL contract
said that they could have a urinalysis at any time, but they never did.
With very little
discipline, it was a perfect setting for me. Living in a condo down on the
shore, partying all the time—this was life. I would party half my paycheck
One night I
sprained my ankle severely enough to be put on injured reserve. I wouldn't
travel with the team, and the idle time had me doing even more cocaine. Even
though I was deeply in debt, my reputation among the local dealers shot. So I'd
drive to Philly to party. I did a lot of free-basing with some of the guys from
school who were living in a house off Lancaster Avenue, not far from
The day of the
Nets' rookie camp, I called one of the guys in charge of the team. Bob
MacKinnon, to tell him I had a sprained ankle and wouldn't be able to
you call me earlier?" he asked.
didn't think about it."