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Booker T On Why Prison Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Him, Knowing He Was On the Wrong Path

February 27, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Booker T WWE Backstage Image Credit: WWE

Speaking with Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast, Booker T discussed his time spent in prison as a young man and why it was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. Well before he was a wrestling star, Booker was arrested and pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery counts related to he and others’ armed robberies at Wendy’s restaurants in Houston. He served nineteen months in prison and was paroled in 1992.

Booker told Garcia how he was making the wrong choices after his parents both died by the time he was 13 and ended up “hanging with the wrong crowd.” He explained that his prison stint forced him to take a step back and reassess his life, which allowed him to find a better life. That of course led him and his brother Stevie Ray to wrestling, and the rest is history. Highlights from the discussion and the full podcast video are below:

On falling astray after his parents died: “I didn’t make the right choices. I mean, that’s why I say, you know I was selling marijuana. I was hanging around the wrong crowd, I didn’t have any focus. I didn’t have any dreams or anything like that in life. I didn’t have any role models to teach me other than the guys that I was hanging with, and they were doing just as wrong as I was.”

On getting trapped on a path of wrong decisions: “I tried to get a job. I held jobs. I remember when everything pretty much happened in that and trying to stay focused out there, I remember my mother telling me one thing. She always used to say, ‘Junior, you know right from wrong,’ you know what I mean? ‘You know right from wrong.’ So every time I got in a situation, I knew when I was doing wrong. And even all the way up until the point when I finally got caught and went to prison, I knew I was doing wrong.

“But when you’re in a situation — and there’s a lot of young kids out there that’s in that situation. We talk about this kids in Chicago all the time, you know, how bad it is and what-not. But when you grow up in a situation, that’s what you know. That’s what you gravitate to. When you’ve got a lot of friends and they’re doing wrong things and you’re a part of it, it’s like a tornado. It’s like a vortex, it’s like a whirlwind and you’re caught up in it. And when you’re caught up in it, you cannot get out of it until it stops. Because everything at that point in time is, it’s a ride. It’s a rush. And don’t think that I was a whole lot of fun doing this, but it is a rush when you’re in those situations.”

On his arrest and prison stint: “And then, when the curtain comes falling down, everything goes dark, the movie [sound of screeching brakes], it stops just like that and it’s all over. You go, ‘Wow, what the hell was I thinking?’ Then goes back to your mother again, my mother, and her saying, ‘Junior, you know right from wrong.’ And then me finding myself in that situation, I took it like a man. And I said, ‘Hey, I know I did wrong. Give me my punishment and I’m gonna go and do it, and I’m gonna hopefully make myself a better person.’

“And the thing is, for me, I can honestly say it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me in my life that I ended up going to prison. Because I got a chance to literally just stop and rethink, you know, my whole life. I had two years to rethink about what my life was about, what I wanted my life to be. And I always knew that I was not one of those kids that wanted to be on the corner in my same neighborhood for the rest of my life. And I saw so many of those people. I can go to my neighborhood right now and I’ll see somebody that I grew up with. And I just knew I didn’t want to be that person. And I knew prison wasn’t going to hold me back, also. I knew that life had something better for me. I just didn’t know what it was.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Booker T, Lilian Garcia, Jeremy Thomas