I was listening to perhaps the greatest interviewer of all time (Jim Rome) yesterday interview perhaps my favorite guest of all time (at least on Rome’s show), Michael Franzese. He was promoting his most recent book as well as answering all kinds of questions. If you ever hear that Rome is interviewing Franzese, it is always worth a listen, no matter how much you may dislike the polarizing Rome.
Michael Franzese is a former mob boss turned informant, who did time in prison, and eventually came to faith in Christ. He does have a place in the sports talk world because of his involvement in sports gambling. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the National Outreach Convention last year in San Diego after he gave his testimony. Anyhow, he had some neat things to say, and I’ll recount three of them.
1.) Rome admitted Franzese did some pretty bad things and posed some questions, “How do you sleep at night? Do you feel guilty? Do you try to make things right to atone for them?” Francese admitted that the things he has done still bother him some times, but that he could rest assure he was forgiven by God completely. He admitted that no one can atone for his or her past wrongs. It was awesome to hear that and be reminded God can and does forgive rotten sinners like you. And me too.
2.) Rome asked him what he thought about Michael Jordan’s father’s mysterious rest stop murder and Jordan’s concomitant retirement (the first of three) from the NBA. Many have speculated Jordan was told to retire because of some gambling issues and that his father was murdered because of his involvement in this dangerous world of high stakes gambling. Francese had no proof to offer, but fully believed both his father’s murder and forced retirement were directly connected to Jordan’s admitted gambling problem. I knew there was a reason I couldn’t stand Micheal Jordan when I was younger…..
3.) Someone called up the show and attributed his desire to graduate from college as a direct result of one of Franzese’s speeches at Pepperdine University. He asked him some pointers on how to interview more effectively. Franzese gave out his personal email, a gmail account nonetheless, and told the young man to email him with some more specifics. He promised to get back with him. Franzese gets hundreds of emails after every stint on Rome’s show and personally responds to each one. Now that’s my kind of guy.
It was encouraging to hear a well respected Christian attempt to bring Christ’s reign to all of life.