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Last week, Kraig Troxell did just that.
And that’s why Dennis Scott rates as Joke Butt Numero Uno on sports radio talk shows everywhere. What’s more, thanks mainly to Troxell, the former Flint Hill product and current Orlando Magic star is already out tens of thousands of dollars. The now certifiably mad bomber’s reputation suffered damage that may prove terminalagain, not so much for what Scott did, but because Troxell, like a cable-access Zapruder, was there to document it.
For the unaware, Scott recently pulled a Martin Lawrence, publicly losing his lucidity during the Dennis Scott Basketball Camp, a five-day program named in honor of the best player Leesburg ever produced.
All week long, Scott had mentored 172 local youngsters at Park View High School in Sterling on the fine points of the game, just as he was supposed to. But on the final day, during what was billed as a motivational lecture, Scott veered waaaay off the program.
Troxell, 24, shoots for Channel 3/Loudoun TV, a meager in-house station on Cablevision of Loudoun. It’s his first job in television. He brought a camera and microphone to Park View not to get soundbites from Scott but to follow up a tip that Shaquille O’Neal would do a walk-on at his former teammate’s camp. Jerry Stackhouse, the Philadelphia 76ers guard, had made an appearance earlier in the week, so the O’Neal rumors weren’t outrageous.
Troxell looked around for O’Neal’s big footprints upon arriving at Park View but saw none, so he went about setting up his equipment without any urgency. But when he heard what Scott was imparting to the very young and captive congregation, Troxell made haste.
“I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard [Scott] say, ‘I’m going to give my own concert! I’m going to give my own concert!’” Troxell recalls. “And then he walks up to this little kid who couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old, and he yells, ‘Barney can do it!’ That’s when I started thinking something really bizarre was happening.”
That’s also when Troxell started rolling tape. And by doing so he caught a good part of Scott’s odd “concert,” which started off with the player lip-syncing all the “fucks” and “bitches” on a rap CD that blared from speakers in his nearby 4X4 while doing a gangsta stomp in front of the youngsters. To show he’s more than a profane Milli Vanilli, Scott added his own wrathful libretto to the pre-recorded vulgarities, lecturing the fearful kids not to bother asking for his autograph but to instead “ask about the rage inside of me.” The cause of Scott’s rage seemed obvious when he turned his tirade into a “Just Say Mo’” pitchas in mo’ moneyby accusing the Magic’s management of disrespecting him by asking him to honor his still-valid contract with the team. That pact pays him $3 million a year. Considering that Scott had about the same shooting percentage last year as Cigar, that’s not a bad piece of change.
At the end of his rant, Scott signaled to a buddy, and the two of them jumped into his noisy truck and got the hell out of Sterling, leaving behind a lot of confused looks. And not just on kids’ faces: Camp counselors, not sure what they had just witnessed, herded the shellshocked campers inside a gymnasium as soon as Scott fled the scene. County rec officials refused to allow Troxell to tape that counseling session, during which they decided to cancel what was left of Scott’s camp.
Being shut out of that meeting did little to temper Troxell’s delight at having caught Scott’s dive off the deep end. With Shaq a no-show, the young cameraman wouldn’t have had anything to hand over to his Channel 3 bosses except blank tape had Scott kept his wits.
Troxell had no idea, however, that an audience far beyond the station’s reach would be so appreciative of his work. He found out as soon as Channel 3 aired the tape on its daily half-hour news program.
“It got pretty crazy,” Troxell says. “All the [D.C.] stations called, and all the Orlando stations called. CNN wanted it. ESPN called. Even Comedy Central wanted my footage.”
Channel 3, which doesn’t get to deal with the media big boys too often, gave the tape away to all comers. CNN put the footage on its satellite news service so stations everywhere could download it. The national airing of Scott’s tour de farce forced his “people” into damage-control mode. The office of superagent David Falkwhose client stable includes Scott, Michael Jordan, and, well, everybody else in the NBAreleased a statement in which the player declared that his camp insanity was only temporary and was triggered that fateful morn when somebody asked “whether I had engaged in
(If such a question was indeed posed to Scott, Troxell didn’t hear it, and he’s not alone. “I know what Dennis says happened, but I was there, and I certainly didn’t hear anybody ask Dennis Scott about drugs. Not the kids or anybody else. Not during camp,” says Chris Leonard, sports program coordinator for Loudoun County Parks, Recreation, and Community Services. Leonard added that when he talked to Scott a few hours after the debacle, the fledgling rapper didn’t use drug queries as an excuse for his behavior.)
In his fragmented apology, Scott agreed to refund every paying camper’s tuition (30 of the 172 students received scholarships). At $200 per, that comes to $28,400. Within days he had also donated another $3,800 to the county for its youth basketball league, putting his total penance at $32,200. For now, that is. Scott’s biggest hurts, however, have yet to come. Wait ’til he feels the heat of NBA fans in opposition arenas next season. Or when he crawls to Magic management begging for that redone contract. Or asks Loudoun County officials if he can hold his camp again.
If it’s any consolation to Scott, the guy who taped the rap that got him in the Dogg-house hasn’t enjoyed any windfall from his work.
“It’s not like I think I’m a big part of the Dennis Scott story, or that I’m famous now,” Troxell says. “But my footage is. It’s everywhere.”Dave McKenna