This week, Dax and Alesha are joined by Panama Jackson, host of the Somethin’ Else podcast “Power: Don King.” This is the third season of the “Power” series, which of course hones in on the legendary boxing promoter Don King.
Right off the bat, Dax has to ask Panama, “Why Don King?” Which basically boiled down to: why not Don King? He made himself a star by making people like Muhummad Ali and Mike Tyson stars, all while doing some dirty dealings on the side. Panama tells us that there aren’t many other people talking about Don King’s story like like “Power: Don King,” and that sometimes, we need to give people with some issues their flowers.
When Alesha says that the story she was told about Don King growing up was vastly different from the one told in Panama’s podcast, Panama completely agrees. He says that while Don was no doubt a capitalist and opportunist who always made sure to secure his money first, Panama has learned that Don’s story is more nuanced than the story Panama grew up with.
Don was not simply a crook or someone who could finesse money out of anybody, but he changed boxing and helped his fighters get their money. Panama also says that he tells everyone that everything they’ve heard about Don King is true, both good and bad.
Dax asks Panama what the most shocking thing was that he learned while making this podcast, citing the two men Don killed as most shocking for him. Panama says that he was most shocked by something Don did that led to a Supreme Court decision.
He tells us that Don’s house was firebombed in the 1960s because of his involvement in racketeering, so Don told the police who he suspected did it and gave them the person’s address. He said that he suspected this person to be at the house of Dollree Mapp, a house which police entered without a search warrant, which violated her Fourth Amendment rights and the case that went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case of Mapp v. Ohio.
Panama tells us that Don King can be connected to nearly anything and anyone, including the New England Patriots. Don was the promoter for The Jackson 5’s 1984 Victory album tour, which also involved a man named Chuck Sullivan whose family owned the Patriots. Because of ticketing issues involving Chuck, the Sullivan family had to sell the Patriots to the Kraft family to make up for Chuck’s losses. It’s a reach, Panama says, but Don King still somehow has a part in the Krafts’ ownership of the New England Patriots.
Speaking of The Jackson 5, it was Don King who switched their promotional sponsorship from Quaker Oats to Pepsi. Obviously, this led to Michael Jackson’s infamous Pepsi commercial in 1984 where his hair caught fire, the moment most people consider to have led him to undergo a plethora of cosmetic surgeries. Panama’s not saying that it’s Don King’s fault…
As for podcasts that Panama loves, he immediately recommends “Questlove Supreme” for nerdy musical deep dives. He is also listening to Bill Simmons and The Ringer’s “Book of Basketball 2.0,” specifically its current Icons Club series about NBA icons. Also, he’s very into “The Rewatchables” for movie reviews and loves his friend Damon Young’s podcast “Stuck with Damon Young.”