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The next time I was high before a game was against Syracuse at the Palestra on Jan. 29, 1983. A few of my friends, down from New York, had cocaine going around. But I laid off it. At this point I was only doing cocaine every now and then. I'd buy some here and there—a quarter gram for a weekend or something—from people on campus. Sometimes I got them to give me cocaine without my paying right away, and started owing people money. Or I'd trade—some cocaine for a pair of sneakers with CATS on them, or a pair of practice shorts, or some tickets. I learned to manipulate people to get what I wanted.
But I still wasn't making a habit of doing cocaine before games. These friends from New York had some Thai stick going around, too, so I smoked a little half joint. It was about 10 in the morning, and the game was at 1.
We didn't just play well. We played awesome. We won 83-75, and I had 16 points. A couple of weeks later I got high before another game. We were on the road this time, to play North Carolina. I smoked a big, fat joint of sinsemilla the morning of the game, just to relax. I offered some to a teammate, but he wouldn't smoke it because this was too big a game.
I didn't mind doing it alone. I was buying pot now, and I took it on the road sometimes. I never thought I needed it. I just did it. That day I came off the bench for 10 points in 34 minutes. Even Michael Jordan couldn't take the ball away from me.
With 2:23 left on the clock, I hit two very clutch free throws with Blue Heaven screaming down my throat, to put us up 49-43, and we went into our delay game. I loved this. We ended up winning 56-53. A story in The New York Times said that I "handled the ball flawlessly against pressure defenses."
I really became wild junior year, hanging out with the wrong people, the hard partiers. Most were students whose rooms were near mine. Others I met in bars on Lancaster Avenue, a few miles from campus. We met a lot of people in the bars, including one guy who always had cocaine for me. One night a friend and I went outside with the guy to do some in a car. We said, "Man, we could move that coke for you on campus faster than you could imagine." He said, "What? Can you really? We'll talk."
He started fronting us eighths of an ounce of pure cocaine, about $375 worth. My friend and I only had to give him $220 back. We would cut the coke and have maybe three grams for profit. So we—me and this other guy—started selling right before the season started.
We would meet up with our supplier, usually off campus, usually once a week. We never got into the big quantities, just enough for something on the side, to make extra money. It was great at first. We had free cocaine all the time, and by selling we became socialites, going to all the parties to find business. I never sold it to other guys on the team, just other students. I didn't want my teammates to know what we were doing. But a couple of guys on the team heard about it.
And then things started getting out of hand. I couldn't always give our supplier enough money because I was doing so much of the coke myself. I started doing it in the morning before classes. I was doing it at night with my friends. Sometimes we stayed up all night doing it. If I hadn't slept the night before, I would be tired and down. So I'd just do more coke right before practice, in the bathroom.
I was getting skinny. I had all the symptoms of a drug user. And now word was getting around that I was selling cocaine. Somehow, this must have gotten back to Coach Mass, because he confronted me.