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Magic man

A former NBA scrub gets caught speeding. Plus, Patrick Kane is sent to the penalty box.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  August 19, 2009

Magic mushrooms may make for amusing Eminem lyrics, but are not and never have been a strong theme in the ongoing sports-crime story. Almost every other drug is strongly represented, but psilocybin-related arrests, as well as LSD busts, are extremely rare. It's hard to say why, exactly — maybe it's because the drug is relatively easy to conceal, or cops don't look for it, or maybe just because jocks simply don't dig paisley. Anyway, the lack of 'shroom arrests is curious, especially given the fact that mushrooms are such an excellent cure for headaches and other pain — one would think that football players would ingest them like donuts.

We now know that at least one ex-NBA scrub is bucking this trend and embracing the fungi. Scott Meents, a 45-year-old former bench-rider for the Bulls, Sonics, and Jazz, was busted earlier this month in Lake County, Oregon, for possession of nearly 19 pounds of magic mushrooms. Meents — a former star at the University of Illinois who was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 draft by the Bulls — got caught because he was driving his Cadillac 69 mph in a 55 mph zone. (One really wonders about a person who speeds when he is driving in a car carrying 19 pounds of magic mushrooms.)

Of the few other 'shroom busts among jocks, the best-known involved a couple of Gonzaga basketball players, Theo Davis and Josh Heytvelt, back in February 2007. That duo got pulled over by cops and hit with a weed-and-'shroom bust, which sucked for them because the mushroom count was a felony. A decent college player who declared early yet went undrafted, Heytvelt was last seen playing summer-league ball — not for the Magic (ha!), but for the Wizards.

The only other "athlete" who had a mushroom incident was professional skateboarder Jerome Rogers, who had an Almost Famous moment and bugged out naked on the roof of his house in Redondo Beach earlier this summer. I refuse to care about that incident for even one more sentence.

Give Meents 11 points for the 'shrooms — frankly, if you're going to deal drugs, you have to learn how to drive the speed limit.

In a pit of trouble
He hasn't been arrested, and maybe he won't be. But former Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino, of late the pseudo-stud coach at the University of Louisville, is in a bit of a mess involving a woman named Karen Cunagin Sypher.

Sypher is in trouble with the law for attempting, allegedly, to extort $10 million from Pitino by threatening to out him for (again, allegedly) raping her in a restaurant in Kentucky called Porcini (and allegedly on a table). Pitino acknowledged in an interview with police that he had sex with the woman in the restaurant, and also admitted to paying her $3000, apparently for an abortion. Sypher says the act wasn't consensual, but authorities say there was insufficient evidence to file a rape charge. More to come as this one develops.

Kane wasn't able — to tip
Kind of an awesome story from the world of hockey — that is, if you like tales about star athletes who shine in the stadium but turn out to be unbelievable assholes in their private lives.

Chicago Blackhawks star winger and 2007 NHL Rookie of the Year Patrick Kane and his cousin, James Kane, were arrested this past week in Patrick's home town of Buffalo and charged with felony robbery. It seems that the two lunkhead goons gave a cabbie $15 for a $13.80 fare. The cabbie gave them a dollar back but then told them he didn't have 20 cents for the rest. Their response? Naturally, the pair tore the money from the 62-year-old cabbie's hand and started punching him in the face and head.

Patrick Kane earns $875,000 a year, plus bonuses — guess a tip was out of the question. Give him 60 points for severe dickness.

Matt Taibbi can be reached

Related: Smear tactics, Not quite through the fire, You Might Know Dawaun Parker Better Than You Think, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Sports, Basketball, Patrick Kane,  More more >
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  •   SMEAR TACTICS  |  August 26, 2009
    In the world of sports crime, there are two kinds of arrests. In the first, an athlete causes a public scene in some way, the police come, and the athlete is eventually squeezed into the back of a cruiser and taken away. The other kind of crime happens outside of public view.
  •   MAGIC MAN  |  August 19, 2009
    Magic mushrooms may make for amusing Eminem lyrics, but are not and never have been a strong theme in the ongoing sports-crime story.
  •   GOING STREAKING  |  August 12, 2009
    It has been an unusually quiet week or so in sports crime, which is perhaps not unexpected, since this is the one time of year when the most arrest-prone class of athletes in America — NFL players — are sequestered in training camps and usually too dog-tired from two-a-days and running suicides to bother to punch out bar skanks or kick in police cruiser windows.
  •   STOPPING TRAFFIC  |  August 05, 2009
    North Dakota might not be the first place you think of when it comes to sports crime, but if the players up there maintain their recent pace, we might soon be listing the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux alongside such infamous programs as the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State University Seminoles.
  •   BAGGED BEN  |  July 29, 2009
    Hard to know what to think about the Ben Roethlisberger story. In the annals of sex-harassment accusations, it is not among the most convincing; not only did the plaintiff never go to authorities, she waited a full year to make her case public.

 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

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