by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Thanks to the Internet’s ability to spread information like wildfire, a new cottage industry seems to be forming around unsuspecting NBA players: nude photos being peddled around the web, for profit (?) and humiliation.

Greg Oden was the first to go through it this season, and now one of George Hill’s former girlfriends has released compromising photos of the Spurs guard for all the world to see.

After the Spurs’ legal department failed to have the pics removed, Hill offered the obligatory apology.

From the Express-News:

“A year ago, I made a mistake and take full responsibility for my actions,” Hill, 23, said in a statement through the Spurs on Tuesday. “I have matured and learned from this episode. I would like to apologize to my girlfriend, my family, all of our great fans and the Spurs organization.”

Meanwhile, the Spurs have dispatched lawyers in attempts to have Hill’s photos removed from the site. Citing trademark infringement and claiming the photos were “disseminated illegally and without permission,” the firm Bracewell & Giuliani — which represents the Spurs — has sent a cease-and-desist letter to thedirty.com. The legal missive, first obtained by the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, demands that thedirty.com “immediately and permanently remove the photographs and all references to the Spurs.”

So far, the Web site has denied the team’s request. In his reply, David Gringas, the attorney representing thedirty.com and its founder, Nik Richie, called the Spurs’ claims, “totally without merit. Trademark law does not apply to criticism of celebrities making fools of themselves,” Gringas wrote.

One gets the feeling that this won’t be the last time something similar surfaces on the web in the near future.

NBA players are finding out the hard way about the price of fame, and the lengths to which people — read: angry ex-lovers, and opportunistic websites — will go to to embarrass them.