Love hurts

Tough times for Dirk Nowitzki. Plus, a Pitt Panther gets caught shooting blanks.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  May 20, 2009

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There've been some bizarre stories over the years involving gullible jocks and their inappropriate, multiple-alias-bearing girlfriends/wives. Our latest such tale takes place in the great state of Texas, featuring grimacing Teutonic hoop star Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. A woman living at Nowitzki's house (and perhaps carrying his baby, if news reports are to be believed) has been arrested on several outstanding warrants, including an old theft-of-service charge dating back to an incident in which she failed to pay for $10,000 in dental work.

Cristal Taylor — the Nowitzki "love interest," as she has been described — has apparently operated under a startling galaxy of aliases, lived with a string of people who never knew her real identity, and earned herself a rather extensive criminal history, involving kiting checks and defrauding a lengthy list of pigeons of their credit cards.

One of those victims, her ex-husband James Westerhaus, revealed after Taylor's arrest that she had racked up more than $300,000 in debt in his name, forcing him into bankruptcy and inspiring him, perhaps belatedly, to end their three-year marriage. Westerhaus did not speak with reporters directly, but let his new wife do so for him. "What I can tell you is the debt was [Taylor's]," Westerhaus's current wife said. "He was an innocent person, just like Dirk is now."

This whole issue came to light when someone in Nowitzki's inner circle warned him about Taylor. Nowitzki eventually hired a private investigator to dig into her past, who discovered she was using an alias and had at some point gotten unauthorized access to his credit cards.

Even so, Nowitzki appears to have allowed the 37-year-old Taylor — whom he'd been with for more than a year — to remain at his Preston Hollow, Texas, home until she was arrested last Wednesday.

"Obviously, I'm going through a tough time in my personal life right now," said Nowitzki, just before the Denver Nuggets bounced his team out of the NBA playoffs like a bad check.

Poor Dirk: first Mark Cuban breaks up his work marriage with Steve Nash, and now this.

Get your Gunn
University of Pittsburgh linebacker Adam Gunn wins the Bonehead of the Week Award for getting liquored up with three friends, refusing to wait his turn to get into a bar, and then assaulting a police officer when he was bored with queuing up. The group (including two former members of the Pitt football squad) was trying to cut the rope line at Club Zen in Pittsburgh when cops stopped them and escorted them to the back. When they tried again and were intercepted a second time, Gunn swung around wildly at the police officer and then took off down the street, eventually getting himself tackled when he tripped over a chain in a parking lot.

While police were trying to cuff Gunn, one of his friends came over and took a swing at them. Another buddy, Anthony Coleman, took it up a notch, challenging one of the officers to a fight and tearing the badge off his uniform. The police responded with their usual patience and deference, Tasering Coleman and arresting him. (Memo to drunken club-goers: punching a cop is a no-win decision. You might want to work out some other emergency strategy for dealing with authority before you go blasting alcohol down your neck pipe.)

Gunn was a sixth-year senior linebacker for the Panthers — he got an extra year of eligibility after breaking his neck in a game against Bowling Green. He's been suspended from his team indefinitely, and something tells me he won't be back. Give him 59 points.

When he's not googling "cracked Cristal" and "pathetic Panther," Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached at m_taibbi@yahoo.com.

  Topics: Sports , National Basketball Association, NBA Western Conference, NBA Southwest Division,  More more >
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