IFWT_Jamal Crawford

In an awesome profile on Jamal Crawford by Mike Wise of  The Undefeated, they talk about how Crawford was immediately traded from Cleveland to the Chicago Bulls.  His childhood idol Michael Jordan invited him to play pickup games.  Those pickup games soon turned into dice games at Jordan’s restaurant One Sixtyblue, that became a makeshift casino after hours.  One night Crawford lost a lot of money and nearly lost his life too.

 Two participants, on condition of anonymity, recounted one particular night when Jordan and Antoine Walker were among the card players and Crawford and Ray Allen were among the players shooting dice, the game was craps.

Crawford brought about $2,000 in cash that night and remembers being one of the first shooters. There were maybe a half-dozen players, most of whom were professional gamblers. Crawford was up and down for a while, once holding about $10,000 in cash, more than he had ever won before.

Then he went down. Way down. Into a hole there was no coming back from. He began making bets with money he didn’t have on hand with a group of professional gamblers used to getting paid on the spot.

As a colossal pit formed in his stomach, he remembered thinking, ‘What the hell did I just do?’

Over what is believed to be a two-day span, he said, he lost in the neighborhood of $100,000. A person with intimate knowledge of the game claims Crawford lost several hundred thousand and Allen lost even more. And that, days after the dice game, a call was placed to Goodwin, Crawford’s agent, to inform him that Crawford had not yet squared his debt with one professional gambler.

“OK,” Goodwin said, according to the person with intimate knowledge of the game. “What does he owe? Jamal is good for it.”

“No, you don’t understand,” the go-between said. “If he doesn’t pay now, these guys will kill Jamal.”

“Kill Jamal?!! He’s an NBA player. He gets paid as soon as the season starts. Give me the dude’s number.”

The person with knowledge of the game said Goodwin called the man Crawford owed money, set up a payment plan and resolved the issue without incident.

Crawford swore he didn’t lose that kind of money, and said he never heard the story about his life being threatened. But he doesn’t deny he got in way over his head, which led to a particularly humiliating moment.

To help square the debt at the end of the second night, he walked out to his 2001 Mercedes-Benz S Class 430, an immaculate new grey sedan. Before he handed over the keys, he opened the trunk of the car. And took out his basketball.

Fifteen years later, Crawford said he has yet to shoot dice or even gamble outside of a legitimate casino again.

Read more on The Undefeated.

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