Steven Kough lived many lives—including some that you just wouldn’t believe. He was an NFL journeyman, a male model, and one of the most well-connected smugglers in 1980’s Miami, the “Drug Capital of the World.” He collected many souvenirs from his adventures, but his most treasured bounty was a beautiful ceramic, created by Pablo Picasso and gifted to none other than Ernest Hemingway at the author’s Cuban home... or so the story goes. Lost during the Cuban Revolution, the artwork resurfaced when Kough took it as a payment for a drug run financed by the notorious Pablo Escobar.
Kough passed away in 2018, passing the ceramic down to his son, Stevie, a skateboarding hippie growing weed in California. Stevie feels he needs to complete his father’s mission – of selling this piece and telling Steve’s cinematic life story. But a big question remains: is the Picasso authentic—or a fraud? Was Steve Kough a big talker or a real deal smuggler? And do any of these questions ultimately matter? This is a great story you won’t want to miss: a globe-trotting tale of aspiration, legacy, and difficult love. So enjoy this clip today, and listen to new episodes of Hemingway’s Picasso every Monday wherever you get your podcasts!
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