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Friday, January 6, 2006
From the Archives: Scoop Jackson's Page 2 on William Wesley


Scoop Jackson has known William Wesley for a long time, and like a lot of people he has a lot of respect for him.

Scoop has written about Wesley at least twice. Scoop's first-ever column for ESPN is a great read, and lists a number of things that Scoop believes. One of the lines was "I believe Phil Knight is the most powerful man in sports next to Wes Wesley."

That was after The New York Times and GQ (I'd like to find that online but have failed so far--hopefully I'll have a hard copy later today to tell you about) had mentions of William Wesley, but before the recent spate of articles in the Detroit News, Akron Beacon Journal, and Oregonian (also not online that I can find).

A few months later, LeBron James fired Aaron Goodwin as his agent. Scoop Jackson wrote about it and had a lot of insight. William Wesley comes up (as does Jay-Z):
If the truth is true, he's about to eclipse everyone in professional sports on all power listings. He ain't a client; he's the player's president. If the rumors are true that he's the one who orchestrated Def Jam Records to get into Def Sports Marketing, then I'm leaving my representation right now and signing with them.

The involvement of Def Jam in this is beyond interesting. Everyone is throwing Russell Simmons' name around, when it's Shawn Carter (34) – another of Time's 100 Most Influential – who is flying this G4. He's the sitting president and CEO of the record company that apparently is involved with reshaping LeBron Inc.

Jay-Z (Carter is Jay-Z, for those who don't know) is part-owner of the New Jersey Nets and has a signature shoe deal with Reebok. Those last two facts alone create a scenario that can/will be a great conflict of interest come contract time for LeBron with the Cavs, as well as a source of contention over his agreement/contract with Nike when that deal is up in 2010.

And before anyone jumps to any conservative conclusions about why LeBron is doing what he's doing with his brand management, think about this: If you were a 20-year-old sitting on a couple of hundred mill, and there was a 34-year-old businessman (who you idolize) about to conquer the world through various business ventures and he wanted you to be a part of it ... wouldn't you want to be down?

And who's to say that, once official, LeBron James Inc. will not have legal, financial and brand marketing counsel provided to it by the same team that is responsible for making Def Jam one of the most successful cross-cultural companies in America, this generation's Motown?

If you think about it that way, LeBron's five-man Cru might be much smarter than all of us think. Or are giving them credit for.