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Report: Cuttino Mobley sues Knicks for forcing him to retire

Nov 16, 2011, 3:02 PM EDT

cuttino-mobley-clips Getty Images

Cuttino Mobley has not played in the NBA since 2008, but he wants back in. He’s worked out for teams but nothing has come of it.

He retired after being traded to the Knicks (in the Zach Randolph deal) in 2008. In a routine post-trade physical it was discovered Mobley had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the same condition linked to the deaths of Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers. The Knicks wanted him to walk away from basketball because of it, and Mobley did after an 11 year career.

When he first retired Mobley didn’t complain, in fact he said the MRI “saved his life,” but that tone had changed by last year when Mobley was saying that the Knicks forced this decision on him when he didn’t want it. The Knicks did get relief from the league on Mobley’s $9.5 million salary.

Now he has taken the next step and sued the Knicks, first broken by Howard Beck at the New York Times.

The Knicks responded. Here is Beck on it:

In statement, Knicks say they are “extremely disappointed” in Mobley’s lawsuit and are “confident Cuttino’s claims have no merit”

This was Mobley’s quote last year.

“At first I was cool with it because I didn’t do research on it, but then doing research and getting different opinions, then I became upset because the corporation, the big company trying to get as much money as they can and do different things like that, for me I don’t think that was right,” Mobley said.

“You either waive me, you don’t take me in, you let me go somewhere else, let me create my own destiny like I did in 1999 when I came to the Rockets. Let me create my own decisions. Don’t make the decisions for me, clogging my heads with different things.

“I’m not upset now because I know it’s a business and that’s how they treat it as a business, but it’s two and a half, three years I haven’t played. It’s been a waste.”

Great, now we have another NBA player and issue headed to court. It’s kind of hard for this layman to see how the Knicks are at fault here. Then again, I think if you buy hot coffee in a drive-through and spill it on yourself you can’t sue saying it was hot. I’m crazy that way. Who knows how this really turns out.

  1. changsteinelgamal - Nov 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Offtopic sorta, but that hot coffee line is uninformed.

    In that case, McDonald’s purposely kept the coffee extremely hot (~200 degrees), knowing that people had been severely burned by it for many years, partly to keep from losing money on refills.

  2. sweepthleg - Nov 16, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Yeah, I agree with changesteinelgamal. I studied that case in a business ethics class a couple years ago. The evidence against McDonalds was pretty overwhelming with tons of memos saying they knew the coffee was hot enough to cause the kinds of burns that it did. It’s pointed to as a very frivolous lawsuit, but if you ever look at the evidence presented it was an important case in getting a dangerous product changed for customer safety.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 16, 2011 at 6:05 PM

      The different take than I’m used to on the coffee lawsuit is interesting. Still not sold, but I could see McD sitting on something to save money.

  3. goforthanddie - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    but it’s two and a half, three years I haven’t played.

    Because nobody wants you? Can’t sue for that.

  4. skids003 - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Yeah, but the Knicks “owe” him, he’s entitled to it. It doesn’t matter they could have saved his life, they should have kept paying him millions, just because.

    • LPad - Nov 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      The fact that Mobley said that after retiring he did research the condition and received other medical opinions would indicate that the condition may not have been as serious as the Knicks medical staff told him. If that is the case, he has every right to sue.

      • ironhawk - Nov 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        Yeah, this exactly. He’s saying the Knicks knowingly withheld information because they wanted him to retire. If they did, than he should be suing.

      • goforthanddie - Nov 16, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        Why? Because he wasn’t smart enough to look into it first, before retiring? Because he was too stupid to see another doctor?

      • gor76 - Nov 16, 2011 at 6:59 PM

        Couldn’t he have just sent the league a fax saying,”I’m back”, and continued playing?

      • irishjackmp - Nov 17, 2011 at 6:57 AM

        I suspect Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers would disagree with you on the seriousness of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

        As for Mobley, just another spoiled, entitled athlete. Teams have to worry about their fiduciary responsibility when it comes to allowing a player with a serious medical condition that could result in sudden death play for them. If they had let him play and he dropped dead on the court, his family would have sued and would have been calling public press conferences disparaging the Knicks for “placing winning/profits over an employees safety”. Knowing what happened to Gathers/Lewis, they almost certainly would have won.

        Mobley was in his 11th year in the league. He was an average player at the end of his career anyway. He’s probably burned through all his cash and is now looking for a payday. It’s become the American way “I’ll sue!!!”.

        Not allowing him back on the court might be the one smart move Jim Dolan has made running the Knicks.

    • yournuts - Nov 16, 2011 at 8:57 PM

      another entitled player who want something for nothing and in this case the team might of saved his life. How disappointing is this?

  5. diablito0402 - Nov 16, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Brett favre has retired 17 times and keeps coming back, why is cuttino the cat so bitter, just come back, im still looking for the part on this article where the knicks put a gun to his head forcing him to retire..

  6. diablito0402 - Nov 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Now, the truth,, he ran out of money and he is desperate to make a buck. Hows that for a theory..

    • skids003 - Nov 17, 2011 at 7:26 AM

      Yeah, it gets expensive maintaining 12 cars, a mansion, a posse, and making it rain.

  7. chicagofan - Nov 17, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    He could be dead now, like Reggie Lewis of the Celtics and many other athletes with this problem, you cannot predict when a fatal ,dangerous heart rhythm will occur with this condition and you will never get a reputable physician to let you play(Dr. Conrad Murray will not be available for up to 4yrs). He should have spent the last 2-3yrs getting a college degree and/or making a new career beyond playing professional sports. I am a physician and I believe the Knicks did him and themselves a favor.

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