SBJ/May 14-20, 2012/Labor and Agents

Rival Sports Group, Dutt sign NBA draft prospect Robinson

Liz Mullen
Rival Sports Group and veteran NBA agent Tony Dutt have signed Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, one of this year’s top draft prospects.

NBAdraft.net ranked Robinson No. 2 overall last week; DraftExpress.com ranked him No. 4.

Rival and Dutt also have signed Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine and McNeese State forward Patrick Richard.

Rival founder Richard Gebbia is also CEO of StockCross Financial Services, an independent brokerage firm that has 60,000 clients, according to Gebbia. Both Rival and StockCross are based in Beverly Hills, Calif. The clients of StockCross include professional athletes as well as executives and other individuals from outside sports, Gebbia said.

Thomas Robinson is ranked as high as No. 2 overall.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Gebbia said he founded Rival with former NBA player Pooh Richardson, who will help train the new clients ahead of next month’s draft. Gebbia would not disclose the ownership structure of Rival but said Dutt would work as a consultant on the NBA contracts. Dutt said Rival will work on the day-to-day management of clients and represent them for financial services as well as off-the-court work, including marketing.

Dutt said he would work with Rival on endemic endorsement deals, such as shoe and trading card deals.

Dutt, who has been an agent since 1985 and represented hall of famer Karl Malone, owns Dutt Sports Services Inc. Dutt’s agency on its own represents eight NBA clients, including Washington forward Rashard Lewis, Portland guard Raymond Felton and Boston forward Brandon Bass.

Dutt first partnered with Rival last year on clients Markieff Morris, who was selected No. 13 overall by Phoenix, and twin brother Marcus Morris, who was selected No. 14 by Houston. The Morris brothers also played at Kansas and were Robinson’s teammates.

CORNWELL JOINS GORDON & REES: Sports attorney David Cornwell, who has represented athletes and agents in sensitive legal matters for years and was recently appointed executive director of the NFL Coaches Association, has joined national law firm Gordon & Rees as a partner in the media, sports and entertainment practice.

Cornwell, via email, said he has been talking to firms about merging his practice into a traditional firm for about two years. “Besides providing the NFLCA access to extremely capable attorneys across the nation, there is no impact on the NFLCA,” Cornwell wrote. “The firm hired me knowing of my commitment to the NFLCA, and I look forward to working with the NFL coaches to confront the challenges we have.”

The NFL Players Association sued Cornwell and the NFLCA last month, alleging that the coaches group owes the players association $650,000 and that there is no evidence Cornwell was properly elected as required by the coaches association’s constitution. Asked about the allegations regarding his position, Cornwell said, “The NFLPA doesn’t have standing to complain about how NFL coaches run their business so no response is necessary.” He added that he would be taking legal action against the NFLPA and some of its employees.

CAA, PRIORITY SIGN NBA PROSPECTS: CAA Basketball has signed Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft. The agency also signed Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross and Virginia forward Mike Scott. … Priority Sports & Entertainment founder and CEO and NBA agent Mark Bartelstein has signed Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, also a projected lottery pick in this year’s draft.

CAA SIGNS BROADCASTER, ADDS AGENT: CAA Sports has signed NFL Network and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” analyst Michael Lombardi for representation. He was formerly represented by IMG. At CAA, he will be represented by a team of agents headed by Andy Elkin and including Nick Khan, who recently joined CAA from Hollywood talent firm ICM. Khan’s clients, who include Hannah Storm and Keith Olbermann, are expected to follow him to CAA.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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