Athletes and strip clubs: A short, but awesome history

Posted: Jun 20, 2010 4:50 AM ET Updated: Dec 15, 2020 3:22 PM ET

Some athletes can easily avoid drinking or drugs. But none can avoid the allure of a strip club.

Just look at LeBron James’ latest enticement to come to New York City: Scores is offering free lap dances for life. If that doesn’t lock up his decision to head to Madison Square Garden, then I don’t know what will.

But it’s not just NBA players. Look what Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma says about gentlemen’s clubs at the NFL’s annual rookie symposium: "You've got drunk guys, drunk girls, crowded areas," he told USA Today. "Things occur."

And we love those things.

Take a look below at some of the top strip club incidents in sports history.

Adam "Pacman" Jones

This was the guy who strip clubs were invented for. Pacman put the term “making it rain” into our everyday vocabulary, and boy did he know how to party.

During the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend in Vegas, Jones and Jermaine Dupree rolled into the Minxx and got $40,000 in singles in a Louis Vitton bag. The real trouble started after he threw all the singles into the air and got annoyed the dancers were trying to scramble to pick up the money. So he punched one. A few gunshots later, one man was left paralyzed and Jones missed a year of football.

Alex Rodriguez

While he didn’t break nearly as many laws as Pacman, his visit to a strip club in Toronto generated just as much buzz in late May of 2007. The then-married star was caught heading into a strip club north of the border during a Yankee road trip, but not with teammates. He went into the club with another stripper, the now infamous Josyln Morse. Later, he left the club and took her back to his hotel. That’s something Cynthia Rodriguez referred to in legal documents as “irreconcilable differences.”

Stephen Jackson

On October 16, 2006, Jackson and teammates Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie Hunter should have just gone to bed early during training camp. Instead, the group decided to head to the Club Rio. At the club they got into a heated exchange with some fellow partiers. The fight trickled outside, where Captain Jack was hit by a car before firing off five rounds from his 9mm handgun. To top the evening off, Tinsley was busted with pot in his car. That’s a sampler platter of awful decisions. 

Mark Messier

The savior who brought the Stanley Cup to New York wasn’t shy about showing it off. Some sleep with it. Some drink out of it. Some go swimming with it.

Messier and several other teammates on the 1994 Rangers decided to take the Cup where it had never gone before: Scores.

“It’s young, single guys,” he told USA Today. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's just the way it's done, the way you treat people while you're doing it … the way you conduct yourself while you're doing it."

But Manhattan Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover told USA Today that strippers and athletes are linked tighter than most realize.

"Scores girls get invited to more sporting events than Mayor Bloomberg."

Sam Cassell, Gary Payton and Jason Caffey

This might have been a good nucleus for a team in 1998. But in 2005, it was a trio who decided that a July trip to Toronto skin shop For Your Eyes Only wouldn’t be complete without a brawl. The charges ultimately were thrown out, but they included Payton punching two strippers, Cassell fighting a bouncer and Caffey joining both in beating up a male dancer who was the fiance of one of the punched strippers. What allegedly started the fight was the three players sitting in a cab after they left the club, yelling obscenities and calling the dancers hos as they headed home. Weird, that pickup line always works for me.

Vince Young

Hook ‘em horns. That’s what sparked a fight at a Dallas strip club at 3:30 a.m. one morning last week. Apparently a Texas A&M fan put up the hook ‘em sign upside down and Young wouldn’t let it slide. So he stormed into a back-room office and tackled the guy. He had to be pulled off and restrained. The video is fantastic and is the definition of dumb stuff getting you in trouble. All those women and booze and he gets mad at a random dude making a gesture? Vince, when a homey smudges your Pumas, let it slide. Also, what was he doing in a strip club office? Who does that?

The 1997 New York Knicks

The Knicks always got stoked when a road trip would take them through Atlanta. And the way that parties used to get thrown at the Gold Club, it’s no wonder the team loved visiting the Dirty South.

But then again, when the manager had a business practice of “keep celebrities coming in by having strippers bang them,” it makes sense.

That’s a fantastic way to get return customers -- and get indicted on federal charges. In the documents, players like John Starks, Larry Johnson and Patrick Ewing were named. One night, the club owner even took girls on the road to Charleston, S.C. to meet the players. Another time, a private VIP room was rented out when the players were in town with flowing booze and 6-10 girls with the quote “There are no rules tonight!” The best part, though, was when Patrick Ewing had to take the stand: "The girls danced, started fondling me, I got aroused, they performed oral sex. I hung around a little bit and talked to them, then I left.” He stayed and talked?

Zach Randolph

Just when you thought one of the most notorious head cases in NBA history had put his previous strip club woes behind him, he amazes yet again. Randolph, who already is facing legal issues about marijuana trafficking, was at Starz in Los Angeles last Wednesday morning around 2 a.m. when a member of his posse decided to beat up a guy named Gary Ferguson. Sound random right? Apparently Ferguson already has a law suit filed against Randolph for beating him up at a pizza place in 2008. I guess a strip club is as good a place as any for a reunion.

And that's just his latest strip club story. Back in 2007, while still a member of the Blazers, he was granted a leave of absence because of the death to a cousin of his girlfriend. That's right, a connection as distant as that earns a week off in the NBA. The Blazers got pissed though when they learned he was in a strip club the first night of his leave.

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