Thursday, May 12, 2005

Going to the Dawgs

I sit here today wondering what my friends and I did wrong. I always hung with other athletes growing up. My best friend was a great high school point guard and could also high step on some 110 high hurdles. One of my closest friends was one of the best free safeties in Central New Jersey. One friend had the arm, the bat and the legs to compete with most major leaguers. Another was a real good tennis player, and yet another was a great martial arts fighter. I myself was a very good basketball and baseball player. We're all successful, but none of us 'made it big' in pro sports.

It's too bad, because I wonder if some of us wouldn't have 'come up' if the other had gone big time. Everybody brings their 'boys' and always has a little entourage with them wherever they go. Rocky Balboa gave his brother-in-law Paulie a job to sit in his corner - now most fighters have at least one fat, out-of-shape guy who knows nothing about boxing in their corner. M.C. Hammer gave away millions of dollars to his friends and family from Oakland, Calif., - helping him do nothing more than go bankrupt. Lots of famous people have a 'team' or a 'crew.'

But we really didn't see it with the elite athletes - Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky let the pros handle them. But that was then and this is a new age.

Let's talk about the decision earlier this week from one of the best basketball players in the world (with the potential to be the greatest), that he was firing his agents to hire his friends. I can just hear Randy Jackson from "American Idol" say to LeBron James, "Good job, dawg." C'mon! This is so stupid I don't even know what to think of it. LeBron fired Aaron and Eric Goodwin as his agent reps - these are the guys who were responsible for getting LJ more than $120 million in endorsement deals before he ever played in an NBA game. They got him a seven-year, $100 million contract with Nike and a six-year deal worth $16 million dollars from Coca-Cola. His current contracts have him making almost $140 million! AND THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE HIS NBA CONTRACT WITH THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS!!!

Who is James hiring to replace the Goodwins? His 'dawg,' Maverick Carter, one of his closest friends and a former high school basketball teammate. Rumor has it that LeBron's road manager, Randy Mims, will also be part of the 'crew' that will handle his business. Carter and Mims aren't sanctioned to be agents by the NBA Players Association - so they better clear that up real quick so that they can start doing NBA business for him when his existing contract comes due.

From my vantage point, the Goodwins seem like they've done a pretty good job for LeBron. They also represent NBA stars Gary Payton, Damon Stoudemire and Dwight Howard.

To me this was an attempt by LeBron to help his boys out. I understand if that's the case, but maybe he should've kept the guys that were doing a great job at making sure he gets the top dollar. Maybe he could've hired a few of his friends as 'consultants' or they could've done some other work for him. I hope this Maverick dude gets the same respect from big time corporations that the Goodwin team did.


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