NBA Players Sports Business

Is It All About The Benjamins?

Brandon Jennings decided to go overseas to play for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma in the Italian league instead of going to Arizona.  Apparently he did not have the scores to play for U of A and additionally wanted to start making cash now instead of waiting a year.  Let’s make one thing clear, though: Jennings did not choose to go overseas instead of playing in the NBA.  On the other hand, Carlos Arroyo chose to go to Israel.  Other former NBA players who have elected to go overseas this year are Serbia’s Nenad Krstic, Spain’s Juan Carlos Navarro and Jorge Garbajosa, Argentina’s Carlos Delfino and Slovenia’s Bostjan Nachbar and Primoz Brezec.  Notice a common thread?  These players are not American born, and have ties to foreign countries.  Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were born in the United States, have lived in America for the majority of their lives, and are living like rockstars in the U.S. of A.  Would they really leave to play in another country just because a team might offer a larger contract?

I just got back from Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend.  I witnessed LeBron James sitting down cracking jokes for about three hours, hanging out with some of his best friends in the NBA.  If he goes overseas to play in Moscow, who will he be kicking it with?  Can money really buy more happiness when you are already making more than $20 million per year?  Would it be worth moving far away from all of your friends and family.  I don’t think so, which is why I have yet to buy all of the reports that LeBron and Kobe are looking at overseas options.  As a caveat, I do believe that they are listening to what is being overseas in an effort to gain leverage when discussing new deals with their teams and American endorsers.  Why not stay in the U.S. and use potential offers overseas to make a little bit more dough in the process?

Kobe will opt out of his contract next year, but do not jump to the conclusion that he will be going abroad.  He will entertain overseas options, but do not rush to get your panties in a bunch.  Entertaining offers does not mean anything.  Sonny Vaccaro believes that Kobe may be a trailblazer and be the first superstar to leave the NBA for $50+ million elsewhere.  Maybe it happens, but if I were a betting man, I would put my money on him staying in the states.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

4 replies on “Is It All About The Benjamins?”

Given Kobe Bryant’s international profile, I think he’s in the exact same shoes as David Beckham was leading him to the MLS.

I really think that if the money and endorsements are right, Kobe will leave to the richest contract in basketball history.

Comments are closed.