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A Bad Trip
Gary McLain
March 16, 1987
The Downfall of a Champion
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March 16, 1987

A Bad Trip

The Downfall of a Champion

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In Africa we had to be creative to get high. A lot of people there could barely speak our language. But we got to know a guy on another team who told us, "I can get you the ganja you want. Whatever you want, okay?"

I traded this guy an Izod jacket for a pound of marijuana. I've never really been one to run around with alligators on my clothes, but this jacket had been an exception. It was the red pullover windbreaker—acceptable Izod wear. Especially since I could get so much pot for it.

And so there I was in Africa, promoting international relations, scheming for a pound of marijuana, once again not thinking of the danger. That never went through my mind.

I brought the pot back to my room, where some of us got high. We wanted to get rid of it before we had to go back to the States, so we would sit in the room and have giant smokeouts. One day, when we had about half our stash left, we heard a knock at the door. The pot was on a big plate, so I covered it before the door opened. In came Carmine Calzonetti, the trip administrator and then an assistant to the director of athletics at St. John's.

He saw a little bit of pot that had spilled on the floor and soon found the rest of it. "What are you doing with this?" he said. "I don't believe you guys." We were snagged.

I was thinking, "I'm busted. He's going to tell Coach Carnesecca." But I don't think he told him. Once again, off the hook. "I just want to see this stuff out of here," Carmine said. "You better get rid of it."

We didn't get rid of it. We found a new hiding place. The big joke was, "Yeah, we'll get rid of it. We'll smoke it up."

A few of us were high before a couple of games, but it didn't seem to matter. We went undefeated down there. We couldn't finish all the pot. We didn't want to waste good weed, so we decided to conceal what we had and carry it on the plane back. Two of us hid pot in our underwear and shoved it down our pants. Another hid some in a camera case.

As we approached customs I was getting scared. There were guys with machine guns at the door. I turned away, reached in my pants and threw the pot away. As soon as the other guys got to the door, the guy at customs said, "These are the U.S. all-stars. Let them pass. No check."

I had thrown away perfectly good weed. The others who hid it had theirs, and we made it home safely. I stayed in the city with one of the all-stars for a few days, and we got coked up all the time.

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