Jewish World Review July 30, 2003 / 30 Tamuz, 5763

Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Nike, lawyer, almost canceling on Kobe? | 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.


In 2001, an Oregon State professor researched pro sports and concluded that it is permeated by a "Culture of adultery." Steven Ortese even determined that today's athletes have a "Fast food sex mentality."

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.

Donate to JWR

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."


Kobe Bryant almost experienced another cancellation and a potentially far more damaging one. His ace attorney nearly quit on him. "Newsweek" magazine reported that Pamela Mackey almost walked off the case three days before charges were filed against her client. That's the day Bryant attended ESPY Sports Awards in Los Angeles with his wife. "Newsweek" says Miss Mackey had, "instructed Bryant not to attend the ceremony because it would seem disrespectful." When she saw him there in the audience on the telecast, she sent his body guards to "retrieve him." The magazine also says Bryant's family and lawyers knew charges were imminent, but that Bryant was "in denial."

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.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

The writer hosts MSNBC's “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The news program, dedicated to all of the day’s top stories, telecasts weeknights, 8-9 p.m. ET. Comment by clicking here.

06/20/03: The parenting files
06/19/03: As the world churns
06/13/03: The No. 1 story is No. 2: The poop on America and its bathrooms
06/04/03: Terror attack preparation: Too much or too little?
06/02/03: Bush vs. Clinton?
05/29/03: Ticket blitz in New York City? Hey, at least pregnant women won't be blocking stairwells
05/21/03: ‘Barney’ as torture
05/08/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously
04/30/03: Should we be more scared of SCARS, or a government that will readily deny you your freedom on the suspicion that you may have it?
04/29/03: Man bites dog --- really!
04/28/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously ...
04/25/03: The panic over SARS
04/22/03: Playing —and greeting cards in a changed world
04/21/03: Reading your own obituary ... and other 'oops' moments
04/15/03: Saddam Hussein and the Sorcerer's Stone: The secret to Saddam's immortality

© 2003, MSNBC