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Billy Hunter suit says Kobe and his agent pushed him to take 50/50 labor deal

Nov 22, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

Yao Ming & Kobe Bryant Attend NBA Fans Appreciation Day Getty Images

In case you forgot, ousted National Basketball Players Association (NBPA, the players’ union) executive director Billy Hunter is suing the union and its president Derek Fisher in an effort to make sure he gets paid well on his way out the door in the interests of justice. Remember Hunter was voted out by the players following the lockout, an audit of the union books found questionable practices, plus there were criminal investigations. But really, it all stemmed back to the lockout.

Hunter’s legal team filed a 21-page paper this week as part of the lawsuit, talking about how the end of the lockout came about — and he says Kobe Bryant and his agent pushed him to take the 50/50 deal.

Ken Berger at has followed this case closely and has looked at the legal documents.

But the most interesting series of events outlined by Hunter were those linking Bryant and Pelinka (who also represents Fisher) to the surprising collapse of negotiations at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Oct. 28, 2011 — about a month before a new labor deal finally was struck, salvaging a 66-game season and reordering the financial and competitive landscape of the sport.

“Late in the evening before the Waldorf Astoria meeting, I was already in bed for the night when my phone rang,” Hunter wrote in the court filing. “The caller identified himself as the ‘Black Mamba.’ I knew it was Kobe Bryant, a superstar player for the Los Angeles Lakers and the highest paid player in the NBA.” Bryant informed Hunter that his agent, Pelinka also was on the phone.

At that point, Hunter said that Bryant urged him to accept a 50-50 split of revenue in the meeting the following day and “put this thing to bed. … Do the deal.”

I hate rehashing the lockout but here we go: At that point it was headed to a 50/50 split. Everyone knew it. The owners weren’t backing down, the only question is if the players would take it then and the season could be salvaged, or if they would hold out until the season was lost. Agents and top players calling Hunter to express their opinions is not out of line at all.

In the suit, Hunter uses this as part of his case that Fisher and some agents had struck a 50/50 deal with the league behind his back.

Whatever. Not sure I buy this, but this is really all about Hunter getting the $10.5 million he believes he is still owed under the terms of his contract (the players union says that contract ended when the players voted him out the door).

The league has yet to hire a new executive director, that search is supposed to be underway through a search firm.

Fisher also was voted out as union president.

  1. 00maltliquor - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Get the ____ ouuuuuuuutta here!

  2. asimonetti88 - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    lol, if Kobe identifies himself as Black Mamba when he calls people, that is awesome. I thought Rickey Henderson referring to himself in third person was rich.

    Hunter is an a-hole though. He’s just trying to get paid even though he ripped off the union.

  3. teambringitstrong - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    I don’t know William Hunter from a can of paint so unlike the poster preceding me I’m not going to blast him or call him names or sit here and pretend I know what his intentions are. Having said that; the Players & Agents had more to lose than the owners so, someone calling WGH and telling him to do the deal is not out of the ordinary.

    • tubal22 - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      He’s the one that gave all the union jobs to his kids and gave fat NBLPA contracts to his family.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:17 PM

      He stole money from the union and had a horrible case of nepotism.

  4. antistratfordian - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    The caller identified himself as the ‘Black Mamba.’

    smh. of course he did.

    • money2long - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      can we just assume for all lakers related stuff, that you have something negative to offer? no need to waste your time from now on, as we’ll just know you have something bitter to spew. deal ?

      • antistratfordian - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:51 AM

        You can assume whatever you want. I’ll still be here.

    • musician0785 - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      trolling on a kobe post….smh of course you are

      • antistratfordian - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM


    • therealhtj - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      It’s well documented your dream lover has been on record as identifying himself as “King James”

      • antistratfordian - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        No, not in conversation. That would be ridiculous.

        Kobe is so obsessed his name because he came up with it himself. Proud papa. But LeBron didn’t sit around over a summer in his mid-20s trying to come up with a sweet nickname because no one else cared enough to give him one – his had already been given to him as a teen in Akron (along with others like The Chosen One or Akron Hammer). So he’s not as preoccupied with it outside of how he needs it to keep driving his brand.

        Kobe, on the other hand, is so balls-deep with “Black Mamba” that its infested every part of his life. Someone calls you at 2am – who is this!!? Black Mamba. He ends all of his electronic correspondence with a Seacrestian “Mamba out.” He signs Christmas cards with it. Gift tags? From: Black Mamba. When he orders pizza he just says “Large pep, Mamba’s house” and hangs up, then wonders why the pizza never shows up. It’s really sad.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:30 AM

        No, LeBron just got his nicknames tattooed in large letters across his back.

  5. billtetley53 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I think its funny that no matter what, be it being a bad teammate, sexual assault, or anything else, lakers fans defend Kobe like he’s a blood relative. And to think its “cool” he refers to himself as the black mamba?! How stunted are you mentally?

    • musician0785 - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      you mean the sexual assualt that was found out to have never happened? how mentally stunted are you?

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