In the 1990s, Michael Jordan ruled on the court, his agent David Falk ruled off it.
Falk had around 40 clients and those included most of the big names of the decade, guys like Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. He bullied around the Players Association in the 1995 lockout, and was involved behind the scenes in the 1998 lockout negotiations. He was consistently ranked as the second most powerful man in the NBA, behind David Stern.
Other players wanted to be like Mike, and that meant it was good to be MJ’s agent.
Not so much with LeBron.
Recently soon-to-be top pick John Wall signed with BEST. Soon-to-be number two pick Evan Turner just signed up with Falk. Wall also said he is not going with LeBron’s marketing team. CBS’s Ken Berger suggests this means today’s players are trying to carve their own niche.
By spurning CAA, Wall became the third straight (Kentucky coach John) Calipari guard to break away from the agency that everyone assumed he would join. Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans both played for Calipari at Memphis, and both signed with Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group…
The best player available in the draft since LeBron himself will enter the NBA with a clean slate, and with no entanglements beyond those already entrenched within his inner circle of close advisors. In effect, Wall won’t be riding LeBron’s – or anyone else’s – coattails.
Let’s not shed a tear for CAA, they still own most of the world. But players today are more media and marketing savvy than generations before. They understand the value of carving out your own unique place in the market. They understand not wanting to be caught in the shadow of the game’s biggest star.
Be like LeBron? Not so much.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.
Russell Westbrook has been wearing the new Air Jordan XXX on the court for nearly a month now. Considering he’s averaging a triple-double in his last 10 games — 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — I’d say he’s pretty comfortable in them.
Continuing a trend of using the respected Jordan brand name with modern players to sell the shoes, this latest ad for the Air Jordan XXX shoes features a young hypeman who describes Westbrook as “the new Big Bang,” and asks people to “make room – as the man is about to take off.”
The Air Jordan XXX hit retail stores on Feb. 12. Westbrook will be wearing them next weekend in Toronto for the All-Star Game.