City reacts with shock, mourning

Steve Hammer



DEC. 2, 2005

LOCATION: Playboy Mansion, Los Angeles, Calif.

10:07 a.m. PST


Thank all of you for coming here today, particularly those of you from the international media and to the networks carrying this press conference live. You've been very respectful of my privacy recently and I do appreciate it.

I chose this setting, the Playboy Mansion, for my press conference today because it is symbolic both of my past and my future. I'd like to thank Hef once again for letting me use his house for my statement and for his many kindnesses over the years.

This isn't an easy thing to discuss, so I'll go to my prepared remarks. Forgive me if I stumble a bit.

[Clears throat, lights cigarette] I'm here today to announce my retirement from any and all activities in the area of dating, courtship and seduction. While the retirement is effective immediately, I'd prefer to think of it as semi-retirement, simply because I don't like to close any doors entirely. I do not, however, foresee any circumstances that would change my mind.

This is a subject that has been on my mind for quite some time, obviously, and it's not one I make lightly. But when my friend Reggie Miller announced his retirement from the NBA several months ago, I began reassessing my own life and priorities.

Reggie could have played a few more years and earned millions more, but he walked away from basketball while he was still on top. He didn't embarrass himself by prolonging his career as a shell of his former self.

And so it is with me. And while I know people watching this in Indianapolis will be shocked by my announcement today, and maybe even a little stunned, I hope they'll understand my reasoning.

As you know, my birthday is tomorrow, Dec. 3, and I'll be 41 years old. I could, potentially, extend my career in courtship for a few years, but I'd prefer to walk away from the sport with my head high and with no regrets.

Why make the decision at this time? I've had a great run. I've dated fashion models, entertainers, actresses and almost as many strippers as my friend Bill Clinton. I've lunched with pro cheerleaders and once drove a Vogue model to a shoot in Chicago.

My first fiancee was a former model and my second was a beauty pageant winner. I just don't see myself exceeding or even matching that level anymore, and I don't want to be embarrassed by trying again.

Secondly, I've recently discovered that the only women who are really nice to me are either women I work with or women who are already taken. My colleagues at work know I would never breach the boundaries of the workplace, and the women who are taken know I represent no threat to them.

Also, I need additional time to pursue other work. I'm almost a Level 15 player in Madden 06 and I need conquer only a few more gang territories to achieve 100 percent completion of San Andreas. I have found that courtship has distracted me from these vitally important tasks.

In addition, I've been working very hard on my book and my next rap album, and continuing my courtship career would detract from those projects.

Another factor in making my announcement today is the mental and emotional health issue. I've found it's no longer possible for me to find someone with fewer mental problems than me. This is obviously a distressing development, but I would like to use this occasion to encourage the single women of Indianapolis to please seek counseling if they're not doing so already. Help is available.

And, to be fair, my private life is not exactly as it's been portrayed in my rap videos and in the tabloids. I've had glassware thrown at me more than once. At one point in time, I found myself living with a woman who collected Precious Moments dolls. I lived in constant fear that one of them would come to life like Chucky and murder me in my sleep.

Most recently, I found myself speaking to a Republican woman. That incident, more than anything else, led me to this announcement today. I refuse to allow myself to be seduced by any agent of Satan and even considering doing so was a big red flag to me.

I would ask the media to please respect my decision and to leave myself and my family alone during this time. I hope I've addressed all of your questions. I can only once again say to my friends in Indianapolis: I know that some of you are mourning, but please direct that energy towards something positive.

Oh yes. One more thing. In lieu of flowers or cards, I'd prefer that donations be made in my name to Planned Parenthood, who've kept me out of trouble for almost three decades now.

Thank you again for attending my news conference.



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