Thursday, March 25, 2010
Bumpshack post Questioning Whether a Chris Douglas Roberts Trip to an NBA Playoff Game on LeBron's Private Jet Was Calipari Recruiting Violation
Did Chris Douglas-Roberts Accidentally Tell on Coach Cal and WWW?
Former Memphis Tigers star and current New Jersey Nets player Chris Douglas-Roberts might have accidentally let something slip on Twitter last week that he might shouldn’t have.
The Twitter ‘Trending Topic’ was #whenIfirstmet and CDR had tweeted his first time experiences meeting such celebs as Jay-Z, Beyonce, John Calipari, and finally NBA mega-star and Nike spokesman LeBron James.
On the surface it might not seem like such a big deal and just an innocent tweet. But it got me to thinking about the shadiness of former Memphis and current Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach John Calipari and how he works the system, legally and in some cases illegally according to some.
Coach Cal is infamously associated with the mysterious basketball power broker known as William ‘World Wide Wes (WWW)’ Wesley who is extremely tight with dozens of NBA, college, and AAU basketball players and coaches across the country. The most famous of his NBA marriages is - naturally - to LeBron James.
WWW is often seen courtside at Cavs games. He was at the Palace of Auburn Hills when the infamous Ron Artest brawl took place. He was seen at numerous Memphis games when Calipari coached there and now he, naturally, pops up at Kentucky Wildcats games (see photo above, to the right of Ashley Judd).
So back to the CDR-Twitter story. Douglas-Roberts tweets that, when he was 17-years old, that the great LeBron James had his private jet pick him up and take him to the Denver-Minnesota playoff game in Denver.
This could have taken place for one of two games. Either, the game on April 24, 2004 or the game on April 27, 2004, as Denver only hosted two home playoff games against the Timberwolves in 2004.
So five months after LeBron flies him down to Denver for a NBA Playoff game, Douglas-Roberts then commits to play basketball at the University of Memphis for coach John Calipari. Are you picking up on the CDR-LBJ-WWW-CAL connection?
LeBron said on The Best Damn Sports Show several years ago that if he had gone to college he would have gone to Memphis so he could have played for Coach Calipari.
I am not sure of the NCAA rules regarding this. I would have to assume it’s a legal loophole and the one that William Wesley and Calipari have shadily mastered, ever since they first arranged for Dajuan Wagner and his father Milt Wagner to show up in Memphis. Wagner was the first big time recruit to sign with Calipari at Memphis.
Whether it was illegal or not, it’s pretty easy to follow the breadcrumbs here: Coach Cal was recruiting Chris Douglas-Roberts back in 2004. How can he impress a highly impressionable 17-year old kid from Detroit? He can call his good buddy William Wesley who phones into a favor to LeBron, and LeBron has his private jet pick up CDR and fly him to the Minnesota-Denver playoff game.
Lets not forget that CDR turned into a great college basketball player and NBA player, but he was not highly recruited out of high school. He was ranked 75th nationally and 26th at his position. So it is not like LeBron was sending the jet for the second coming of himself. It was either as a favor to William Wesley or perhaps LBJ Airways provides this service for all Top 100 recruits in the country.
The underlying connection to it all? NIKE! Coach Calipari is under contract to Nike and for his teams to wear Nike, and LeBron James makes 8 figures annually as a Nike endorser. It creates a full circle pipeline of talent that almost always ends up as Nike endorsers. [see update below]
CDR is from Detroit, the same city that William ‘WWW’ Wesley now makes as his home. Also, the same city that Derrick Rose (or someone like him) allegedly took the SAT back in 2007. The test was invalidated due to fraud by the standardized testing committee. The NCAA claimed that Memphis should have known that Rose didn’t take the test and had someone else take the test for it. The handwriting on the test in question doesn’t match Rose’s penmanship.
The NCAA stripped the Memphis Tiger’s 2008 Final Four appearance earlier this year over the issue and also for allowing Derrick’s brother to fly on the team’s charter plane without being charged.
The vacated Final Four is the second of John Calipari’s college coaching career. He is the only coach in NCAA history to have two Final Four appearances removed from the record books.
[UPDATE: Several people have mentioned that Memphis wore adidas shoes until Calipari's last year when the Tigers switched over to Nike. This is true, but Calipari changed from adidas to Nike after the adidas deal expired. In his 2006 contract renegotiation Cal negotiated to "negotiate a shoe deal" and "keep all the income" according to Sports Business Daily (April 19, 2006).
He will also receive a $300,000 guarantee in shoe/apparel money. Calipari is allowed “to negotiate a shoe deal with any company and keep all the income,” money he previously had to share with UM. Calipari is expected to earn $225,000 in shoe money from adidas in ’06-07, meaning he will earn at least $1.525M next year.
So as soon as the adidas deal expired Nike and Cal exchanged vows, and in the process Coach Cal got to keep all of the money. Cal has always been 3 steps ahead of whoever he was negotiating with, and with Memphis AD R.C. Johnson, Calipari was likely a good half-marathon ahead.
Calipari was working with Nike and through its subordinates, Wesley, LeBron and company, long before he could officially get the Tigers switched over to Nike. As soon as he had the power, he negotiated the deal for the University and kept the money in the process per his 2006 contract extension.]