- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
That evening, at Wynn's request, Holy-field attended the black-tie Carousel of Hope banquet and charity auction at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Later the champion would say, "There were so many people there, people who own things. The women all had these huge diamonds and things like that. People talk about how drug dealers wear flashy gold. Well, it isn't any different from this. Steve Wynn kept pointing people out to me, telling me what they do and how much they are worth. I don't really care what they are worth. I care what they do. If you tell me this man makes Grumman planes, well I know he's worth a lot. That's all I really need to know."
After leaving the Beverly Hilton, Holyfield and Williams—the latter a refreshing entourage of one—took the red-eye to Chicago, where they would catch a 6:50 a.m. flight to Birmingham. Holyfield had turned down a request to appear on Saturday Night Live so he could watch his brother, Michael Coley, a 6'1", 190-pound corner-back for Alabama A&M, play against Alabama State on Saturday afternoon.
At O'Hare Airport the boarding call for the sick and elderly and those traveling with small children was announced for United flight 564 to Birmingham. Holy-field limped onto the plane. He had banged his left knee getting into a limo at the Beverly Hilton, and it was starting to hurt. "I need the time," he told the smiling agent at the door.
The champion ate a cheese omelette with sliced ham for breakfast, after which a flight attendant brought him a Bible. Holyfield and Williams read from it, quizzing each other on verses. Across the aisle an older man traveling with his wife listened. Leaning over, he said to Holy-field, "With the Lord on your side, no wonder you're the champ."
Arriving at the Birmingham Airport at 8:35 a.m., Holyfield ordered a limo—"Everything but seats. We want beds," he said—but was told he would have to wait at least 45 minutes. Overhearing this, a young man named Michael Smith, an attendant for Avis, offered to drive the champion to a Denny's Restaurant for breakfast. Holyfield agreed, and he and Williams set off in a rental Buick. "What do you drive? A Mercedes?" Smith asked.
"A Buick," replied Holyfield.
Smith looked both pleased and surprised. "What kind?" he asked.
"Any kind I want," said Holyfield, who owns a Buick dealership in Atlanta.
Smith considered that for a moment. Then he asked, "How's it feel to be a star?"
"Ain't no stars except up in the sky," said Holyfield. "I ain't no star."