Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Ten Mentors

My Ten Mentors Not! (. . . anymore, thank god)



10 Pro Athletes Who Couldn't Stop Gambling

Alex Rodriguez, who’s arguably the greatest player of his generation, has done a poor job of maintaining a clean reputation. After admitting to steroid use, receiving the nickname “A-Fraud” from his teammates, cheating on his wife, and enduring the perception that he’s “unclutch,” he’s made things even worse by participating in illegal high-stakes poker games. Of course, plenty of athletes have tarnished their reputations and careers due to their penchants for gambling. Conspiracy theorists, for example, like to claim that Michael Jordan’s first retirement was “forced” by David Stern because MJ allowed things to spiral out of control. The sometimes shady activities of these ultra-competitive, testosterone-laden jocks can produce fascinating stories. Here are 10 guys who serve as proof.

1. Pete Rose

From 1989 forward, all major sports gambling scandals have evoked and will evoke the name of Pete Rose, who remains banned from baseball and the only living person ineligible for the Hall of Fame. His activities as the manager of the Reds compromised the integrity of the game, even though the infamous Dowd Report indicated there was no evidence that he bet against the Reds — years later, investigator John Dowd stated that he thought Rose may have bet against his team. To date, Rose’s biggest admission is that he bet on the Reds “every night.”

2. Denny McClain

Rose’s coauthor of the 1969 instructional booklet How to Play Better Baseball shared a similar interest, one that contributed to his downfall just as he was reaching the prime of his career. After winning the Cy Young Award in 1968 and ’69, his interest in betting on horses eventually prompted him to invest in a bookmaking operation with members of the Syrian mob. According to an article in Sports Illustrated, a foot injury suffered by McClain in 1967 was caused by mobster Tony Giacolone, who bet on the Twins and Red Sox to win the pennant and the Angels in McClain’s last start of the season. McClain, certainly no golden boy, was suspended from baseball on three occasions and has lived a turbulent life since he left the game.

3. Alex Rodriguez

Major League Baseball’s biggest concerns with A-Rod’s involvement in the poker games is the presence of cocaine, the amount of debt he may have incurred and whether or not his activities have led him to betting on baseball. The Pete Rose ordeal has encouraged MLB to nip such issues in the bud — suspicions of Rose’s gambling problems arose in 1970, but, prior to the late ’80s, few could have imagined him being so reckless. A suspension may not be in the cards for A-Rod, but at the very least, he’ll have to suffer through a stern scolding from the commissioner.

4. Michael Jordan

As with your typical type A personality, Jordan always has to be in the middle of the action. In 1993, an eventful year for MJ, he was spotted gambling in Atlantic City the night before a game against the Knicks, he admitted to losing $165,000 due to the vice, and Richard Esquinas, a San Diego businessman, claimed MJ owed him $1.25 million after a game of golf. Now retired for almost a decade, it’s not uncommon to find him participating in high-stakes games or going 18 holes with another celebrity, adding to the veritable library of MJ gambling stories that have been collected through the years.

5. Charles Barkley

Long-time friends with Jordan, Barkley has been just as dedicated as a gambler. In 2006, he told ESPN that he lost $10 million due to the habit — including $2.5 million in six hours while playing blackjack and $700,000 during a Super Bowl weekend — stating that “It is a problem for me,” though he said he would continue gambling. Two years later, The Wynn in Las Vegas sued him for $400,000 for unpaid gambling markers, causing him to publically declare “I’m not going to gamble anymore” on TNT’s NBA playoff pregame show. Not exactly known for his willpower, it’s doubtful that Barkley has stayed the course.

6. Paul Hornung

During the early ’60s, gambling was a major problem in the NFL , as evidenced by the suspensions of its biggest star, Hornung, and All-Pro tackle Alex Karras, both of whom missed the 1963 season for betting on NFL games and associating with gamblers. Hornung bet up to $500 on games, but never bet on the Packers, according to Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Hornung, the league leader in scoring from 1959 to 1961, led the Packers to the 1961 and 1962 NFL championships —the team wouldn’t win another until 1965, a year after he was reinstated. His forthrightness about his gambling ensured the punishment wasn’t too severe and his reputation remained intact.

7. Art Schlichter

A year before the Colts drafted Elway and subsequently traded him away, they made the mistake of drafting Schlichter, whose questionable associations in college foretold the problems that would plague him for much of his life. His signing bonus was gone by midway through his rookie season, and by the end of the 1982 strike, he was $700,000 in debt. Eventually he became the first NFL player suspended for gambling since Hornung and Karras. With his NFL career over, he was arrested in 1987 for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar sports betting operation. Having committed more than 20 felonies during his lifetime, Schlichter has essentially resorted to fraud and forgery for his livelihood.

8. Wayne Rooney

Just 25 years old, it’s difficult to imagine that Rooney has been an international soccer star for several years. It’s even more difficult to imagine that he’s gambled away almost £1 million. As a 20-year-old, he accumulated £700,000 in debt while betting on football (also known as soccer), horses and dogs with a business associate of teammate Michael Owen, a dispute that was eventually settled. Two years later, it was reported that he lost £65,000 in just two hours in a Manchester casino. Rooney has pledged to control his gambling, but with weekly earnings surpassing UK’s gross annual median salary, it’s clear that he has the resources to maintain the habit.

9. Rick Tocchet

Since the versatile Tocchet hung up the skates in 2002, he has pursued careers as a coach, television analyst and bookmaker, the latter of which resulted in two years probation and leave of absence from the NHL. According to a criminal complaint, he was one of the primary funders of a nationwide sports gambling ring out of New Jersey used by several current NHL players. Also operated by ex-New Jersey State Trooper James Harney and a man named James Ulmer, it averaged more than five bets per day worth a total of more than $5,000. Overall, more than $1 million circulated through the ring.

10. John Daly

Barkley’s surprising admission that he lost $10 million to gambling was spurred by Daly’s even more astounding revelation that he lost between $50 million and $60 million during a 12-year period, an estimate that Barkley thought was exaggerated — after all, Daly had an autobiography to sell. With Daly’s unique personality and many vices, stories of his extracurricular activities are abundant. For example, after narrowly losing a match at a World Golf Championship, he lost $1.65 million in just five hours while playing the $5,000 slots. Fortunately for Daly, he can maintain a steady stream of income because of his legendary off-the-course status.

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Reading Katie Cunningham for Christmas

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Pulitzer Prize Winner!!!

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The genius Is At It Again/The Rapper CHIEF aka Sherwin Allen

Sandrine's Letter

Sandrine's Letter
Check out Sandrine's Letter To Tomorrow. You will like it, I insist.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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At Books and Books

At Books and Books
Me And Vicki at Our Reading

Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.