This story is about cocaine.
This is about sliding so far into the gutter that Vaseline looks like an adhesive.
This story is about throwing it all away and, in the end, well, what do you think of Kevin Mackey? He's 61 now, a scout for the Indiana Pacers. But they still call, the coaches who want to know how he did it.
"I've run life's race a few times," says Eric Shanaberger who was there to witness the whole thing. "I still say Kevin Mackey is the smartest man I've ever met."
Shanaberger was there at Mackey's side 22 years ago for an NCAA tournament moment that most likely will never occur again. Cleveland State, barely in the tournament as an at-large No. 14 seed, reached the Sweet 16.
Back in 1986 the street-wise Vikings smacked down Indiana in the first round. Beat St. Joseph's in the second round and then lost to Navy on a controversial basket by David Robinson.
"They took it away from us," said Shanaberger. He was a Cleveland State assistant then. Now he is a 48-year-old financial consultant with a team picture on his wall to stir memories.
"People still come into my office and say, 'I remember where I was when you beat Indiana,'" Shanaberger said.
This story is also about fairness. Mackey accomplished all those things but hasn't coached a college game in 18 years. Try to find someone to speak against him. You can't. So why are we asking Mackey if he deserves a second chance?
After some stammering and stuttering, the usually effusive Mackey says: "Yeah, especially with the money they're paying. Look at my record. Look at the whole thing."
Yeah, let's look at the whole thing.
A program was born that year. Mackey and that thick New England accent were going places. No at-large team that has been seeded as low has advanced as far -- before or since. Only 13 times in 23 years since the bracket expanded has a No. 14 seed won even one game. Cleveland State won two that year.
George Mason, you say? Not as pretty a Cinderella as you think. The Patriots were automatic qualifiers in 2006 and seeded a lofty No. 11 when they advanced to the Final Four. LSU got to the Final Four the same year Cleveland State pulled off its miracle but was a No. 11 seed from the mighty SEC.