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August 31, 2001

Meet the Pros

The story of one man's journey from obscurity to international professional celebrity—aided only by his own hard work, a sneaker commercial, and mad handles. And other stories of amateurs hurtling themselves at the pros whose jobs they covet.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Goldin, author of an online guide that prescribes 23 rules for comic fans to follow when mingling with professional sci-fi authors at sci-fi conventions. For instance: don't try to start a discussion with a pro on the way to the bathroom. And this week, Ira explains, breaks eight of the 23 rules. (3 minutes)

Crispy With The Rock

The story of two amateurs meeting the pros. One is a teenager in New Jersey; the other, our reporter. Joel Lovell visits 19-year-old Luis Da Silva, one of the stars of a popular series of Nike commercials featuring professional and amateur basketball players doing dribbling tricks. Luis didn't even start for his high school basketball team. (17 minutes)

Know When To Walk Away, Know When To Run

Ira travels to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, gets hooked, and tries to figure out what it would mean if he'd ditch his job in radio to become a professional card player. What he learns: A professional gambler can suffer two heartbreaking losses back-to-back, costing him over $100,000, and moments later, at the casino bar, calculate the million-to-one odds of his unlikely losses...in his head. (26 minutes)