VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Billiards Hall of Fame member Mike Massey is on a mission. Last week that mission brought him to South Mississippi.
Massey has experienced the good and evil of pocket billiards. When he was 15, up until he turned 23-years-old, Massey says he was lucky to be alive, competing in pool halls all across America. He says he lived the rough and tumble life of a hustler.
Massey says, "I've been locked up in rooms. People came at me with guns. My head has got so many scars. I've been hit over the head so many times. I was in jail six different times. It's a bad life. I hate to say that. It's a dangerous life. You see when you're gambling in that world, your money is from the pimps, the thieves, the bookies."
Massey says those people don't put their money in banks, instead they carry up to $50,000 in their pockets.
" I traveled on the road and became a hardcore hustler and then I had the religious experience and after that I've done five movies, won 18 World Championships, "stated Massey. " I won the first 5 out of 7 ESPN Trick Shot Magic competitions and received $25,000 for the first four competitions and $30,000 the last time I won it."
During his hustler days Massey says he can remember when he won $6,700, two motorcycles and almost lost his life getting away from the place.
Massey says years ago he was making a couple of hundred-thousand dollars a year when he was really into the money.
"There's only a few really good professional pool players that are really making money, and when I say good money, I'm talking about a hundred to a hundred-fifty-thousand dollars a year, "said Massey.
Massey turned his life around and while there is a dark side to the billiards game, it also brought him success and a mission.
"One of my big things now is trying to keep kids, not getting involved that element of the game, because there is an element of the game that's bad, "said Massey. "It's a trap that you don't want to get into."
He has a ministry called Gospel Trick Shot Ministry. He said,"We go all over the world using a pool table to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."