King: I won't.
SI: Roy Blount, the published plumageologist, thinks wild hair caused civilization. According to his hair theory of human evolution, early hominids were always tossing their heads back to get the hair out of their eyes. The longer it got, the more they had to shift their weight to their haunches and kick at their hair with their front feet. Before long, they were standing up. Their brains relaxed and enlarged, and pretty soon the thought occurred to them to cut some of their hair off with a sharp rock. Through technology, they could detach a part of their body and hold it. Blount says this act was fraught with all sorts of symbolic implications. King: Throughout eternity, hair has had symbolic power. It's been a crown of honor, a cloak of comfort. When you're cold, it warms you. When you're hungry, it feeds you....
SI: Feeds you!
King: Indubitably. I lair nourishes me with its intricate power. No question about it. It's an attention-grabber that gives me the opportunity to present whatever story I want, for better or worse. Without that attention, I might not get a chance to say anything. People across the country see what they consider my outlandish—and what I consider my magnificent—coiffure and follow my example. I'm a walking billboard. Joe Louis had to fight 14 years to make the Hall of Fame. Babe Ruth had to hit 60 home runs. Ty Cobb had to hit a triple play! But I made it on hair.
SI: Where is this Hall of Fame?
King: In the minds and hearts of the little mothers—black and white—who say to their babies, "Here comes Don King. I wonder what he wants. I bet something wondrous is about to happen, an extravaganza second to none." With no hair I'd be just like every other nigger walking down the hall or the sideway. If I was bald, people would say, "Do you know Don King?" And I'd say, "Yes." They'd say, "You look a great deal like him, but you don't have The Hair." This way, they know it's me for sure.
SI: There is a striking resemblance.
King: There's a reason for that.
SI: Would anyone listen to a bald Don King?
King: Let me just say that I am an instrument of the Lord, and He is using me as a conduit. He didn't give me any other facial distinguishments. He took me from the pits of despair and through my hair gave me hope, knowledge and international recognition. I'm world-renowned now. In fact, I'm known all over the world. The power of my hair radiates inwardly and outwardly. It fertilizes new thoughts and activates the churning of the cerebellum and the medulla. The poet John Donne said many years ago: "No man's an island, a train to himself. Every man's a member of the continent and a part of the main. And when the death bell tolls, does it not toll for thee?" For whom the bell tolls, bro.