NBA Teams Sports Business

Knicks Sign Their No. 1 Pick — William ‘Worldwide Wes’ Wesley

The New York Knicks have announced that William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley has been hired to serve in the role of executive vice president/senior advisor of the franchise. Wesley will be departing from his role at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where he had been provided the title of consultant within its coaching division — a position he held for thirteen years.

It reunites Wesley with Leon Rose, who represented basketball players at CAA prior to taking the job of president with the Knicks.

“We are very excited to announce the hiring of William Wesley, someone that I have known for over 40 years and consider to be family,” said Rose. “He is one of the most well-connected and respected people in the basketball community and he will be a tremendous asset and resource to both myself and the New York Knicks.”

To say that Rose and Wesley are close is an understatement. For instance, ten years ago the duo was spotted discussing a purchase of twelve apartments on two floors of the W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences. Rose also stayed loyal to Wesley when Wesley allegedly had a disagreement with Rich Paul, who at the time was a part of CAA and would eventually move on, with LeBron James as client, to create Klutch Sports Group.

Wesley has long been known as a power broker within NBA circles, with particular power concerning the Knicks franchise. He has been viewed as one of the most trusted advisors of Knicks owner James Dolan despite not officially being blessed with such a title until now.

In 2007, a GQ article asked, “Is This the Most Powerful Man in Sports?” referring to Wesley. Back then, few outside of the real inner workings of professional basketball had heard the name William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley, and that is certainly about to change with the prominent role he has been provided by the Knicks. Even then, thirteen years ago, the author said, “In the NBA, all roads lead to one man . . . William Wesley . . . the most connected, most discreet, most influential man on and off the court.”

That GQ article really peels the layers off of Wesley, who was a mortgage broker before fully jumping into the business of basketball. Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk referred to Wesley as one of the two or three most powerful people in the sport. Scoop Jackson said Phil Knight was the most powerful man in sports next to Wesley. Henry Abbott highlighted how Wesley was so very connected to AAU programs, agents, shoe companies, coaches, franchise owners, front office executives and players.

Now Rose, who was once also Wesley’s attorney, is reunited with his good friend and the Knicks are able to brag about having one of the most connected people in the world of sports on their side.

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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.