“If he doesn’t pay now, these guys will kill Jamal.”
According to a recent feature by The Undefeated's Mike Wise, the NBA's greatest Sixth Man ever, Jamal Crawford doesn't have such a hot hand when it comes to dice games. In fact, he once lost over $100,000 over a two day span while slinging dice with some professional gamblers at Michael Jordan's Chicago restaurant, One Sixtyblue.
The wild story takes place in 2001, just after MJ and Crawford played some pickup hoops they headed to the restaurant for some gambling. Card tables were set up throughout the venue but Crawford headed to a craps table positioned in the corner with $2,000 cash.
According to the legendary tale, Crawford caught fire and turned the two grand into $10k, but that newfound fortune was short lived. And then he dug himself into a ditch that threatened his very existence.
“He 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.”
“They would be like, ‘OK, you bet two grand on this one, OK lost,” Crawford recalled, agreeing to discuss his own role that night but refusing to confirm the identity of anyone else involved. “Then they’d say, ‘Now we will bet three on this one [roll]. Oops, lost. Now you down 15 [grand].” So it wasn’t like cash was coming out, it was like air money. But it was money I was going to have to pay somehow eventually.”
Over the span of two days Crawford had lost roughly $100,000 and things got real sketchy when his agent at the time, Aaron Goodwin, got a call from someone looking to collect on their winnings.
“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.”
Ultimately, Goodwin worked out a payment plan with the gamblers and Crawford had to give up his brand new Mercedes-Benz S Class 430 as part of the debt he owed from the two-day bender.