NBPA executive director exploring if ties exist between NBA and college corruption scandal

Chris Mannix
The Vertical

NEW YORK – The National Basketball Players Association is reviewing the federal filing that levels corruption charges at multiple major college basketball coaches and a high-level executive at Adidas to determine if there are relationships between those named in the complaint and NBA players, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told The Vertical.

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On Tuesday, Roberts directed the NBPA general counsel, Gary Kohlman, to direct his staff to determine if any of the named defendants have relationships with NBA players and what relationships the defendants have with agents or other financial advisers who are known to be dealing with NBA players.

“We are going to be rigorous in making sure that anybody who is engaged in this misconduct is out, at least in terms of being certified by this [players association] to continue to work with our players,” Roberts told The Vertical.

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts (Getty)

Among the coaches charged was Chuck Person, an Auburn assistant and a 13-year NBA veteran. Person is charged with soliciting and accepting bribes from a financial adviser for professional athletes. In exchange, Person agreed to steer certain players from Auburn to the adviser when the players made the NBA.

As part of the investigation, the FBI raided the office of Andy Miller, according to multiple reports. Miller, one of the NBA’s most prominent agents, is the founder of ASM Sports. Christian Dawkins, one of 10 people arrested Tuesday, is a former agent at ASM. Dawkins was fired by ASM in May for allegedly charging $42,000 in Uber rides to a client’s credit card.

Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the NBPA does not certify financial advisers, Roberts made it clear that any agent involved in misconduct would be held accountable.

“Agents we scrutinize much more thoroughly because we do have the power to allow or disallow them to represent our players,” Roberts said. “Agents understand that if there is an issue, we will hold them directly responsible for the referral.”

While the federal investigation is focused on college basketball, Roberts expects the fallout to impact the NBA and its players.

“This is the kind of criminal prosecution that generally results in people, in my words, flipping,” Roberts said. “There are too many close associations between some of the named defendants and people that I know are actively engaged with [NBA] players to think that it won’t have any impact. It will. But it’s almost good news. If people are engaged in this kind of conduct and potentially harming our players, thank you U.S. Attorney’s office, I’ll get right on it and get rid of them.”

“This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. Our players are literally stalked because of their income by people, most with good intentions, but far too many without. It’s disturbing. I feel badly at the college level because to [an] extent it works. Frankly because these kids are not compensated in ways that would make them able to say no to overtures of that kind of cash. It needs to be addressed in the first instance at the college level, but to the extent it impacts our players, we will figure it out and take care of it.”

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For more on Chris Mannix’s discussion with Michele Roberts, which includes NBA players’ response to President Donald Trump’s racially charged attacks on NFL players, listen to The Vertical Podcast on iTunes, here or on The Vertical.

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