Turning a felony upside down

Originally Published: May 15, 2009
By LZ Granderson | Page 2

When I learned that the woman who entangled Dirk Nowitzki in her web of lies had also dated former NFL QB Tony Banks more than 10 years ago, I thought to myself -- what a great example of love without limits. It is easy to dismiss Cristal Taylor as a money-hungry liar but if you peel back that rotten onion you'll find a heart that looks beyond restraints such as race, age, nationality, height, weight, earning potential, scouting report and talent level.

For all of her faults, I think we all can learn a lot about love from Cristal Taylor/Chrystal Ann Taylor/Christian Travino.

It's Dirk's devotion that I question.

I mean, come on, so she's gone by a few different names over the years. What's wrong with a little creative expression? Do you really think my mom named me "LZ"? Besides, is it the person that you love or the name that you call them?

And this thing about bad checks is no reason to call the whole thing off, either. She probably just put the decimal point in the wrong spot when she was balancing the book and got confused. Repeatedly. It could happen to anyone.

Cristal Taylor
AP Photo/Jefferson County Sheriff's OfficeDid you look better than this when you woke up this morning? Probably not.

Now, I too would be concerned about the multiple arrests dating as far back as 1999, but at least now you get to see how she looks when not at her best. Anyone can look great with dimmed lights and makeup. It takes a special beauty to look halfway decent after crawling out of a window, getting chased down by cops and then photographed in harsh florescent lighting, as she was the day she was arrested at your house earlier this month.

I'd like to see Angelina Jolie pull off a good mug shot in those conditions.

Now most women I've seen and are featured in those magazine articles about groupies/extortionists are going after a specific kind of athlete, like the women who travel the country following the NBA All-Star games just to hang out in hotel lobbies hoping to attract a baller. They have a specific target in mind. Clearly -- if Taylor is willing to go after an undersized journeyman QB and a big German NBA All-Star -- her net is pretty wide. I'm sure with more investigative reporting we'll find a couple of Japanese baseball players and a Kenyan marathoner in her past, as well. In my mind that seems kind of beautiful, you know? It's not that she doesn't see color, it's just that she only sees one color.

That's diversity I can believe in.

And are you really going to let a little thing like lying about her age force you to call off the nuptials? You show me a woman over 30 who doesn't pause when asked to give her age.

And if she is over 30, you would want her to have a good dentist, so while it is a problem she racked up $10,000 worth of dental bills and then skipped town back in 2004, the important thing to remember is that she has healthy teeth.

"This is unbelievable," Banks told The Dallas Morning News when he learned that he and Nowitzki had both dated Taylor. "This is wild. I can't believe it's the same chick."

You know why he can't believe it? Because he's 36, bald and out of the game and she actually upgraded in that same time frame. I know "black don't crack," as the saying goes, but being black myself, I can tell you she's using more than just shea butter to stay on top of her game like that. The woman has secrets and if Dirk had any kind of entrepreneurial vision at all, he'd see she could make bank in her own right by sharing them.

Think about it, Dirk's no great looker, but he's holding all of the cards so he doesn't have to be. But Taylor, who once worked in a gentleman's club as a cocktail waitress, has no such luxury. If it was just a one night stand, then Dirk could follow Jamie Foxx's advice and just blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-alcohol. But seeing how she had old dude buying rings and thinking "I do," Taylor has to be pretty hot.

Like Megan Fox-hot at 37. That has to be good for at least two beauty secret books.

If Sarah Palin can get $7 million to write a book, I'm thinking Taylor's getting at least $8 million. Think about it, which title do you think has more selling potential: "Living Large in Alaska" or "Girl, I Got 'Em ... And You Can Too."

Yeah, I'm thinking Dirk needs to reconsider cancelling the wedding. After all, everyone has their faults ... at least Cristal Taylor/Chrystal Ann Taylor/Christian Travino was decent enough to lie about hers.

LZ Granderson is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to Page 2. He can be reached at

LZ Granderson | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine