Jewish World Review July 30, 2003 / 30 Tamuz, 5763
Nike, lawyer, almost canceling on Kobe?
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Regardless of how the case of the state of Colorado versus Kobe Bean Bryant turn out, it may have already cost the defendant as much as $45 million in endorsements. But given the NBA culture, why are sports retailers even surprised? And, Kobe Bryant almost experienced another cancellation and a potentially far more damaging one.
Sports retailing industry sources confirmed for a "New York Daily News" report that the shoe giant, Nike, has been exploring if it can get out of the five-year, $45 million endorsement deal it had just signed with the embattled Los Angeles Lakers star.
The sources confirm that Bryant's contract contains broad conduct clauses that could permit Nike to cancel the deal, like "If Kobe Bryant were to bring public ridicule or disrepute," to Nike.
The company has not yet decided to invoke that clause, but our sources say it has concluded that by itself that Bryant's announcement of infidelity would cross the threshold for damage to Nike's public image. As an unidentified source told the newspaper, "He was supposed to be the 'Mr. Clean' of the NBA." The "Daily News" says Nike has already scrapped plans to market a new sneaker named for Bryant.
Countdown, my TV show, could not independently confirm that report.
BUT WHY SHOULD ANYONE BE SHOCKED?
The terms they would have used in 1901 would have been far less explicit, but they would have meant the same thing. That was in the day when ball player with venereal diseases were described by reporters as, "Suffering from malaria." One baseball great apparently had more than two dozens cases of "malaria" before his retirement in 1935.
Darryll Dawkins went to three NBA finals and 11 full seasons in the league, known as "Chocolate Thunder" and author of a book by that same name. One of the chapters in that book is entitled "Scoring off the Court." And he wrote that women fling themselves at athletes, "Not only in the NBA, in the NFL, and baseball-major league baseball, wherever you go, there's going to be women there and they're all going to fling themselves at you," he told me.
But are there still any "Mr. Clean's" in the NBA?
"I know during the time I played, there were some "Mr. Clean's" and "Mr. Dirty's," too. But, that's the nature of the game, you know, the more you travel, you're out on the road, you're lonely, and you invite yourself for trouble when you decide to entertain women in your room. I mean, let's face it, there's no room service coming that late at night for Kobe Bryant. And, I just hope everything works out well for him."
LAWYER CANCELLING TOO?
So, what would have been the big deal about this attorney quitting? But Pamela Mackey may turn out to be the most important teammate of Kobe's career.
Pamela Mackey is a former public defendant who made it to the big league. She's known for flying under the radar, and for many of her clients, it is a first class trip to freedom.
She's a courthouse giant with a sky-high resume. Pamela Mackey's record in the highest profile cases is stellar. NHL goalie, Patrick Roy was accused in a domestic violence case dropped charges were dropped. Jeanne Newmaker, charged in the rebirthing therapy death of her adopted daughter a four year probation. A skier involved in a fatal collision on the slopes against the same D.A. she now faces charges dropped.
But, perhaps most importantly, one prominent client remains anonymous because thanks to Mackey, charges were never filed.
Beneath cool exterior, Mackey is described as a bulldog tough, meticulous, confident. A Goliath in the courtroom, teamed with a giant on the court, facing an epic battle ahead.
Mackey won't be alone in the courtroom, joining her will be her partner, Hal Haddon, perhaps best known for his defense of John Ramsey, father of JonBenet Ramsey, another prominent Colorado attorney with an impressive record.
Monica Novotny contributed to this report.
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06/20/03: The parenting files
06/20/03: The parenting files