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What Donald Trump Learned From Don King

U.S.What Donald Trump Learned From Don King

For more than three decades, the boxing promoter Don King and Donald J. Trump have shared an enduring friendship and some defining surface similarities: an unmissable hairdo and a self-regarding gumption that became a kind of superpower, a trail of beleaguered creditors and an unswerving conviction that more is more.

“Putting some gas in the tank,” Mr. King, 92, said recently at a South Florida casino bistro, presiding over a 4 p.m. lunch of New York strip steak, three eggs over easy, bacon, sausage, pancakes, grits, cranberry juice, coffee (“black like me”), with agave syrup and African hot sauce he brought from home.

His waiter asked if anything was missing. “Yeah,” Mr. King said, “we’re going to need more butter.”

As much as any figure has in Mr. Trump’s grand, rampaging public life, Mr. King modeled what Mr. Trump considered to be success for a Black man in America. For the former president, Mr. King was both ally and example — a half-generation older and an avatar of unrepentant excess and streetwise bravado in Mr. Trump’s 1980s heyday in New York.

If the famed promoter can appear airlifted from another era — when the boxing business was king, when Mr. King was the boxing business, when some scores were settled outside the ring and the legal system — this was the era when so much of Mr. Trump’s world seems to have congealed into a worldview.

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