Michael Beasley lawsuit says agent ripped him off
|Michael Beasley's suit might expose serious corruption in amateur basketball.|
Beasley is suing sports agent Joel Bell, claiming Bell pursued a 14-year-old Beasley in the hopes of securing the rights to Beasley's future representation. Beyond the obviously sleazy aspect of a grown man trying to sign up a 14-year-old boy, Beasley says Bell's conduct was in violation of NCAA rules and federal law.
Basketball fans have long suspected that the AAU world is full of disreputable characters and con men. Now, of all people, Beasley might be ready to turn over the rock and show what kind of critters live underneath.
Beasley's lawsuit, as reported in this morning's Washington Post -- B-Easy grew up in the D.C. area -- alleges that Bell conspired with Curtis Malone, the man behind a summer basketball program called DC Assault. According to Beasley's accusations, Malone was to deliver Beasley to Bell, who wanted to get dibs on the can't-miss teenage prospect.
|Michael Beasley: Push him, and he's going to push back.|
Beasley's lawsuit says Malone, through his summer camp, was a "runner" for Bell, helping connect high school age players to the professional agent. The DC Assault, which is organized by a 501(c)3 charity, is not only successful, listing several other top-notch players as alumni, but lucrative: The charity pulled in about $600,000 in grants and donations from 2005 to 2009, the Post reports.
Beasley's lawsuit alleges that Bell's and Malone's racket is anti-competitive, and didn't allow Beasley to seek other representation.
And, once they thought Beasley's image was in their hands, these fellows took care of everything else. The lawsuit alleges that when Beasley went off to college at Kansas State University, a man whom Malone had interested to her mother said he wanted to be Beasley's financial adviser.
That man paid for Beasley's mom to move to Kansas to be close to her son, and also paid for her first six months of rent, according to the suit. Beasley's mom also says she never paid a single rent or car payment while her son was in college.
Through all of this, it's worth remembering just who was being pulled and tugged at during this time. As the Post points out, Beasley was not much of a student, and cycled through six high schools in five states over five years. Then he spent a single year at Kansas State University, and went right to the NBA Draft, where he was the No. 2 pick.
It's too early to say who's in the right here. But there's no argument that the system that propelled Beasley further and further into the moneyed underworld of amateur ball is deeply flawed, and not worth saving.