SBD/Issue 24/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Congressman Protests Against NBA Teams Playing Euro Teams

International Clubs Soon Might Have
Trouble Playing Against NBA Teams
European basketball clubs soon "might have trouble playing against NBA teams in exhibition games," as U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) yesterday in a "terse" letter sent to NBA Commissioner David Stern noted that "several former NBA players have had their contracts breached by European teams," according to Sean Deveney of SPORTINGNEWS.com. King in the letter noted that Greek basketball team Olympiacos is "currently visiting the United States on a two-game goodwill tour, yet has outstanding U.S. federal court judgments for money owed to past players -- a number of whom came from the NBA." King: "For international basketball to succeed, it is imperative that the interests of NBA players both past and present are protected globally." Deveney noted King's complaint with Olympiacos "doesn't involve today's club," as instead it "stretches back to former NBA players who have sued the team in the past." Sources said that two of these players are former NBAers David Rivers and Chris Morris. U.S. courts have "ordered Olympiacos to pay $1.1[M] to Morris and more than $400,000 to his agent, Tom McLaughlin." Olympiacos played the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday, a visit that "came amid speculation that the team's uniforms would be seized on behalf of Morris and McLaughlin." Deveney noted Stern has "no jurisdiction over how (or whether) international teams pay their players," but King "does seem to want him to stop allowing NBA teams to play against teams that have stiffed players" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/14). King: "I want to see what the response from Stern is. If it's not a good response, I will talk to other members of Congress and see what they think about it. It could certainly lead to Congressional hearings, it could lead to legislation." King added if the NBA is in "any way going to acquiesce in foreign teams violating the contractual rights of American players, including former NBA players, the NBA is clearly falling down in its fiduciary responsibility" (SI.com, 10/14).

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