There were good musicians in Detroit and I was starting to play with some of them. That helped me and a lot of them were clean. A lot of musicians in Detroit looked up to me because of all the things I'd done. And so one of the things that made me stay clean was that they did look up to me and since they were clean it made me want to stay that way..
...Anyway, I REALLY kicked my habit because of the example of Sugar Ray Robinson. I figured if he could be as disciplined as he was, then I could do it too. I always loved boxing, but I really loved and respected Sugar Ray cause he was a great fighter with a lot of class and cleaner than a mother-fucker. He was handsome and a ladies man; he had a lot going for him. In fact, Sugar Ray was one of the few idols I ever had. Sugar Ray looked like a socialite when you’d see him in the papers getting out of a limousine with fine women on his arms, sharp as a tack. But when he was training for a fight, he didnt have no women around that anybody knew of, and when he got into the ring with someone to fight, he never smiled like he did in those pictures everybody saw of him. When he was in the ring, he was serious, all business.
I decided that was the way I was going to be, serious about taking care of my business and disciplined. I decided it was time for me to go back to New York to start all over again. Sugar Ray was the hero-image that I carried in my mind. It was him that made me think that I was strong enough to deal with New York City again. And it was his example that pulled me thru some really tough days." --Miles Davis