Lunch With Don King It’s Food For Thought

Updated: October 31, 2008


OK let’s say we with

the infinite POWER

we have here in the

Black Box could get

you lunch with


Who would you choose ? Barack Obama. Oprah Winfrey. Tiger Woods. Henry Paulson ) maybe he’ll give you a Billion or two ?? ). Sarah Paulson. LeBron James. Who who who. Well don’t bother. We decided for you today it’s lunch with Don King. WHY. Because he just might be more entertaining than all the rest.

Besides we were able to tag along with a Financial Times reporter who was invited over to King’s Florida mansion for lunch so it was not necessary to get you your own invitation. Even better you don’t have to worry about loading up on the calories or getting bitten by King’s dogs since we have arranged a fantasy luncheon for you. No need for you to get on a plane or buy Don King a gift. It’s all taken care of.

So sit back and enjoy lunch

compliments of us

And since we are guests of The Financial Times Of London’s Henry Hamman we should sit back and enjoy lunch quietly and let Henry do the talking. So listen and learn. And yes what’s for lunch King’s own barbecued ribs.

Still we had to wait a while for Don

“After almost two hours, when our conversational skills have been all but exhausted, King appears. He offers his hand and a perfunctory apology for the delay. He’s in tan-coloured shirt and shorts, and leather sandals. Now 77, he is in robust health, and more than 6ft tall. He exudes that magnetic presence that sets rock stars and successful politicians apart from the rest of us.”

Don King is a prolific reader we learn

” He is also carrying three satchels, which he unpacks on the dining-room table – they contain about 20 books, including five on Martin Luther King and a book of guidance called What Would Shakespeare Do?, along with a cigar case, from which he takes a large cigar. He spends the rest of our three-hour talkathon tasting but never smoking the cigar.”

It never gets tiring hearing King talk about himself

” Donald King was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1931. His father died in an accident when King was 10 and his mother supported the family by baking. As a young man, he became a “numbers runner” for a street lottery. He went on to become the world’s most famous and controversial boxing promoter, the man who largely created the modern professional boxing business, from the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, to the following year’s “Thrilla in Manila” that pitted Ali against Joe Frazier, and the 1996 and 1997 matches between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.”

But how about now Don ..

” The days when boxing commanded prime time television are gone but there are still plenty of fight fans. This year, King has promoted a junior middleweight championship bout in St Louis, Missouri, a card including a lightweight championship in Biloxi, Mississippi, and a heavyweight championship in New York’s Madison Square Garden. His next fight card is on November 7 in Chengdu, China, billed as a benefit for earthquake relief.”

But here’s something how about King’s hair ???

“I start awkwardly, talking about King’s hair. I ask him how he keeps it standing up. “It does it on its own,” he tells me. “It’s au naturel. It’s something like Samson and Delilah. You know, God gave Samson his strength in his hair, and she betrayed him by telling the Philistines that his strength was in his hair … I came home from the penitentiary to be with my beautiful wife Henrietta, and my head was rumbling and my hair began to pop up, ‘Ping, ping, ping.’ Couldn’t put scissors near it, no clippers. You put them there, you get static electricity. I’ve never put a pair of scissors or clippers to it over the last 30 or 40 years.”

What about all the reading he does …

” King says he developed his reading addiction in prison. Over the course of our conversation he quotes extensively from (among others) John Donne, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Carlyle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Adolf Hitler. King is perhaps the ultimate autodidact.” ( look it up ! )

All this is fine but we are getting HUNGRY !!

still Don wanted to talk philosophy ..

” I was always fighting for economic [progress], because economics is the basis of it all. Money, wanting something for nothing, that’s the greatest evil you can have. That’s larceny. You could never be conned if you didn’t want something for nothing. If you didn’t have larceny, you could never get beat.”

Then with King there is always politics …

” King has been a prominent supporter of George W Bush and has been a regular guest at Bush’s ranch in Texas. “Every black looked at me like I had bubonic plague,” he says, although he is unrepentant, calling Bush “a revolutionary president”. I ask him to explain. “George Walker Bush had the most diverse cabinet of any president in the history of this nation: he had the Latinos, he had the blacks, all those who had been degraded, dehumanised and cast into a … package of negative associations. He took those [people with] negative associations and he put them to the forefront of the nation.”

And there is more …

” King believes Bush prepared the way for an Obama presidency, and compares his willingness to put African-Americans in charge of national security to a defining moment in baseball history, the 1947 decision of Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey to sign the black player Jackie Robinson, thus integrating the sport.”

” King is hopeful for an Obama victory: “We can do it,” he tells me. “God has given us an opportunity that just is wonderful. And I’m just glad to be alive during this time to bear witness. But we’ve got to see it through to the end. And to get to that vote they [white people] have got to imagine that Obama’s a white man.” I remind King that Obama’s mother was white. He laughs. “God made it that way.”

FINALLY time to eat !!!! and listen some more …

” The ribs are ready and we move from the dining room to the kitchen …..

….. where we pick from platters of rib, chicken, lamb chops, hot dogs and sausages, potato salad and coleslaw. We are both so hungry that there’s little conversation during the actual meal. We just eat, companionably, sitting side by side at the kitchen table. Members of King’s retinue wander in for a plate of food and then go back out to the patio where they have been cooking and watching football on a big flat-screen television. King’s official photographer, who has been an intermittent presence during our talk, snaps some shots of us working through the ribs.”


So no more talk please

let’s EAT and enjoy

ourselves it’s free