Tuesday, July 14, 2009
- Lawyer Michael McCann (of Sports Law Blog and Sports Illustrated) has published a draft of a fairly lengthy paper examining Judge Sonia Sotamayor and her record in sports law. McCann was on the legal team that represented Maurice Clarett when he sued to join the NFL. There is an interesting prediction in the paper: "In the near future, the NBA eligibility restriction is poised to trigger a 'Clarett-like' case, which could culminate in a Supreme Court review of professional sports eligibility rules ..." McCann continues that, had he not elected instead to go to Kentucky, John Wall would have been a candidate to file such a lawsuit: "Consider, for instance, North Carolina native John Wall, the nation's top-rated basketball prospect in 2009. During the spring of 2009, Wall, a fifth-year high school student, contemplated declaring for the 2009 draft. Had he done so, the NBA could have rejected the declaration on grounds that Wall had failed to satisfy the eligibility rule. Wall had met the 19-year-old age requirement, but due to assorted transfers between high schools, there was confusion as to when he 'would have graduated' from high school. Although some projected that he would have been among the first five players selected in the 2009 draft -- which would have meant securing a guaranteed contract worth at least $7.7 million over three years -- Wall instead accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Kentucky. His decision removed the possibility of a potential challenge to the eligibility rule, but revealed the type of fact-pattern that could induce such a challenge." Also interesting from the paper: The Collective Bargaining Agreement has nothing to say about players with G.E.D.s. In theory, a player could get the equivalent of a high-school diploma and a year later make a case they're NBA eligible.
- And as long as we're considering the merits of more or less insisting top players go to college, Basketbawful's Matt McHale continues his amazing series (names and identifying stuff mostly changed) on being the college roommate of an elite NCAA basketball player. A typical passage includes talk of McHale meeting with dorm honchos, trying to get assigned to a different room: "I spilled my guts. I talked about the booze, the occasional drug use, the fact that he slept with a different woman every night. I told Chad that Mat never went to class, that he stayed up all night, that he ignored me when I asked for compromise. I didn't want to get Mat in trouble. I didn't want revenge. All I wanted was a new room assignment. And I really figured that what I told Chad would seal the deal ... and maybe even get Mat kicked out (even though I didn't want that to happen, if only so that I could avoid his wrath). 'Matt, there's something you need to understand,' Chad said. 'Student athletes are special people. They're under a tremendous amount of stress. It isn't easy balancing school work and classes and all their responsibilities to the team. We have to be patient with them, and very understanding. We have to make special allowances for them because student athletes make our lives better. They represent the university. They give of their bodies and minds so we can feel happy and excited about our teams. Don't you think that the least you can do in repayment is give Mat a little of that patience and understanding I was talking about?'"
- A little behind-the-scenes footage of Ron Artest's first visit to the Laker practice facility and corporate offices. He asks for a bunch of Artest jerseys, presumably for his friends, and there is talk he may have to pay for them.
- A tale of witnessing William Wesley introducing high-school junior LeBron James to Michael Jordan, who was reportedly there to sway James to sign with Nike.
- The game of chicken going on between Lamar Odom and the Lakers.
- Headed back to Greece: Josh Childress.
- John Hollinger (Insider) on Otis Smith's fancy footwork: By making Dallas believe that they wouldn't match the offer for Gortat, they were able to throw the Mavs off the scent of [Brandon] Bass. At the time, the Mavs were thinking letting Bass go to the Magic would eliminate any chance of losing Gortat. Here's what The Dallas Morning News reported at the time: 'The Mavericks stepped aside in negotiations for Bass, allowing him to sign with the Magic. His presence with the Magic virtually guarantees that Marcin Gortat will be a Maverick. He signed an offer sheet … and Orlando has until next week to match the offer … The Mavericks are no longer worried about that possibility.' Psych! This is Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown, folks. Orlando created the impression that it was going to let Gortat leave, the Mavs fell for it hook, line and sinker, and as a result the Magic got to sign the player they coveted at power forward (Bass), in addition to keeping Gortat like they always knew they would."
- Kevin Arnovitz of Clipperblog on the idea of Allen Iverson as a Clipper: "The Clippers could conceivably plug him in as their backup point guard, run him out there with the second unit for 25 minutes a night, and have a potent starter when Baron Davis is afflicted with whatever it is that afflicts Baron Davis."
- Antoine Walker used to follow in Charles Barkley's footsteps as an apparently overweight guy who managed to produce in the NBA. Now he's following in his footsteps as somebody with a very public six-figure debt to a Las Vegas casino. The only difference is that Walker's debt comes with an arrest warrant.
- Oklahoman writer Darnell Mayberry tweets: "Kevin Durant: 'I'm not leaving Oklahoma. What ya'll keep asking me for?'" (Via Daily Thunder)
- Conan O'Brien's show, with the videotape of LeBron James getting dunked on in a pickup game. The best part is when he says "hey, we've got more interns."