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Friday, November 22nd, 2013 at 10:30 am  |  83 responses

Billy Hunter Says Kobe Bryant Pressured Him to End NBA Lockout in Secret Deal


No one wants to rehash details of the god-awful lockout. We understand this perfectly. But this is extremely important news: Kobe Bryant identifies himself over the phone as “The Black Mamba”. Of course he does! According to Billy Hunter, Bryant worked alongside Derek Fisher to work out a secret deal to end the lockout (which eventually led to Hunter losing his job.) Per CBS Sports:

Billy Hunter, the ousted former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has identified Kobe Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, as the power brokers who pushed him to accept a 50-50 labor deal that Hunter claims was negotiated behind his back during the 2011 lockout. In a 21-page court filing this week in Hunter’s lawsuit against the NBPA, its former president, Derek Fisher, and his business manager, Jamie Wior, Hunter laid out the case for how he believes he was sandbagged by Fisher during the labor talks. Hunter is alleging defamation and breach of contract in the lawsuit, and Fisher’s alleged role in a so-called secret deal with the owners to end the lockout would be relevant if Fisher usurped Hunter’s authority as the sole bargaining agent for the players under the NBPA’s by-laws. Hunter, who was voted out as executive director in February 2013, is seeking as much as $10.5 million in pay and benefits owed to him under a 2010 contract extension that Fisher, as union president, approved. Hunter, whose actions as union chief also have been the subject of several criminal investigations, filed statements with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles from three former executive committee members who stated that his contract with the NBPA — never voted on by the full board of player representatives — was valid.

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.” Hunter said Bryant also told him, “I got your back.”

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  • Anthony

    “NBA…Where Espionage Happens”…..#CmonSon

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange always knew Horry Jr was of low moral character, but usurping Billy Hunter’s power son? That’s a new low. What’s he gonna do next, try to take credit for leading the Lakers to 5 chips … oh wait …

  • http://www.offthebackboard.wordpress.com/ Off The Backboard

    From the article: “This all seems perfectly reasonable. Everyone following the negotiations knew that they were heading toward a 50-50 split of revenue or something very close to that figure.”

    50/50 was going to happen regardless, based on the nature of the talks. Hunter’s problem is that Fisher negotiated behind his back to strike that deal when, I believe, he wanted to stand firm (correct me if I’m wrong here); Kobe merely suggested he accept the 50/50 option, he didn’t hold a gun to his head. Ultimately, the players voted for it and it was passed.

  • shockexchange

    The owners always defeat the players via a strategy of “divide and conquer”. In SE’s opinion, by the time Horry Jr called Billy Hunter, he Fisher and several others had already circled the wagons.

  • peppermyangus

    @shockexchange:disqus i like kobe as a basketball player but the guy is overrated imo.
    the 2004 lakers-kings are rigged everyone knows it and yet no one talks about it at the time,just ask the refs lol.and why kobe still playing with low-cut shoes?guys in my gym thinks its cool to play without tapes on their ankles..with that being said #8 kobe was fun to watch.

  • 3Chainz

    Well even the owners were divided. Big markets vs small markets. New York , Chicago and L.A vs the Charlotte, New Orleans etcs…

  • KingBenjamin

    2004 Lakers? LOL you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  • thebossman15

    LMAO.. This is a perfect “Kobe haters be like..” too funny, clueless haters

  • star

    “The caller identified himself as the ‘Black Mamba”

    hahahaa

  • KingBenjamin

    So people are mad that Kobe and Fish had to do some “dirty work” to end the lockout before and Kobe is the bad guy because of that? May I remind you that Hunter was not handling the situation at all well? And also that he was voted out of the NBPA by the players? The players were eventually going to have to agree on a 50-50 split anyways, Kobe just wanted it sooner so the season could finally start. Oh, and FYI, the new agreement does not benefit Kobe and the Lakers at all, yet, it got done because Kobe and Fisher knew what they had to do for the sake of basketball and people are complaining because of it? That’s ridiculous.

  • thebossman15

    lol, you probably actually think #24 kobe and #8 kobe are different people

  • KingBenjamin

    Right.

  • Ben Ireland

    What did Kobe do to you? I’m curious.
    Also, Kobe had a little time left in his career, and decided to fix the lockout himself, and got it done. More power to him. Hunter was being useless, so he got fired. Seems perfect to me.

  • Cortez Mack

    To the limited degree I am interested in this, I still have no clue as to what influence Bryant would have to influence Billy Hunter to do anything.

    …plus, I wonder why the allegations Fisher brought up regarding Hunter are not more prominent.

  • shockexchange

    Horry Jr threw Billy Hunter threw Billy Hunter under the bus, just like Shaq, Pau, Bynum, Lamar, and MWP. Free Billy Hunter son.

  • are you for real?

    You really think he did it for the love of the game and not out of fear of losing the 20+ million contract he had for the year? Oh buddy…

  • LakeShow

    Reference on MWP, and Lamar?

    I’m calling your bluff.

    Bynum I don’t recall anything negative being said and he deserves as much criticism as he can receive.

    Kobe has only been hard on Pau once or twice and it was when he admitted he was underachieving.

    If Kobe threw these guys “under the bus” then Jordan threw his team mates under the bus much, much worse.

    The best in the game have to know when to be hard on their teammates. That’s why Jordan and Kobe are d*cks and still have won 11 rings between them.

    Here’s some Jordan classics:

    ” I hate being out there with those garbage men. They don’t get you the ball.”

    “If you pass the ball to Bill Cartwright, you’ll never get the ball from me.”

    ” He can’t do anything with the ball. Don’t give it to him.”

    “You ever hear of a guy, six-eleven maybe and two hundred sixty pounds, a guy big and fat like that and he can’t get but two rebounds, if that many, running all over the damn court and he gets two rebounds? Big guy like that and he gets one rebound. Can’t even stick his **** into people and get more than that…Big, fat, fat guy. One rebound in three games. Power forward. Maybe they should call it powerless forward.”

  • spit hot fiyah

    ” “The caller identified himself as the ‘Black Mamba.’ I knew it was Kobe Bryant….”

    sherlock holmes

  • shockexchange

    And after your dissertation Lake, the Shock Exchange stands corrected. Billy Hunter didn’t get undermined by Horry Jr and Derrick Fisher. Thanks for clearing that up. FREE BILLY HUNTER!

  • Caboose

    You make us Kobe haters look bad.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well, considering Bryant and Fisher, as veterans towards the end of their careers have the most to gain by getting a deal done during said lockout …. people, specifically the younger players who will inevitably lose money because the NBPA took this deal, have a very very good reason to be angry.
    .
    and FYI, Kobe Bryant, who made 27 million in 2011-12, benefitted by $27 million dollars by getting the deal done. Fisher, the head of the players association, as well, get’s to extend his career by gaining good standing with the owners by pushing any deal through.
    .
    FYI.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    good lord you people know jack sh*t about that lockout

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Bryant being of the standing that he makes Hunter feel like his job is more secure. As Hunter is employed by the players, and Kobe being the old “alpha” dog among them.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    while Shock is piling on nonsense, the message he’s sending about this being shady as f*ck is more than justified.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    the owners were divided in how the luxury tax and revenue sharing worked out. they were united in wanting a 50/50 split.

  • robb

    ‘Yo, this is the Black Mamba, fix this sh*t now’. lol I love Kobe. I don’t believe it happened like that, I mean can you imagine Billy going ‘Damn I gotta do this or the Black Mamba will come after me’ Things don’t work that way,

  • LakeShow

    So no reference?

    Okay cool you’re a liar.

  • ballislife

    The one who calls himself the shock exchange is an obvious troll in regards to anything kobe. Almost to the point where it clouds all other analysis you make because your hate for kobe, in which is a man you have never met in your life. It is called internet courage. Do not be fooled by his distortion. I hate Lebron James because he destroys my team but to attack him as a man is just childish. Grow up exchange being immature does not suit you.

  • robb

    lol

  • thebossman15

    Even if he did it for the money, the end result is still that the season was saved, makes no sense to even question his intentions. The fact that he is the hardest working in the league(as confirmed by everyone else in the nba) would lead me to believe that he did in fact do it for the love of the game moreso than the potential 27 mil loss..but then again maybe he really needs the money, 200 mill+ in nba earnings alone would leave me longing as well………

  • Cortez Mack

    Did he really think Bryant had “influence” over a significant number of players who (along with their legal and financial teams) are looking out for their own interests?

    Seems implausible. Kobe is getting an employee check just like the rest of them.

  • shockexchange

    Actually, the article involves Horry Jr, so the Shock Exchange only commented about Horry Jr to the extent he was involved in usurping Billy Hunter’s power. The real “troll” is ballislife. You constantly try to catch fade with the Shock Exchange because you think it’s going to get you some “up votes.” Trolling for up votes … pathetic.

  • pposse

    the usurpers must pay for their treasons!

  • ballislife

    im just calling it how I see it

  • thebossman15

    your comments are stupid,annoying etc. but i would not mind seeing them under one condition. Have u ever suggested changing your name from shockexchange to blood sucking mosquito? if you had a kanye avi it would be perfect, you’re the mosquito to slam forums’ kanye

    incase you dont know what im talking about

    http://hiphopwired.com/2013/09/27/kanye-west-spazzes-on-paparazzi-calls-him-bloodsucking-mosquito-video/

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Rationally I agree. I’m just trying to explain what influence that Bryant would be able to use or threaten to use.

  • shockexchange

    Could you give SE a list of things you like / don’t like, mind seeing / don’t mind seeing so he would get your dander up again? After all, the Shock Exchange lives for your validation.

  • shockexchange

    Are you suggesting that usurping Billy Hunter’s power was good look for Horry Jr or are you simply content to get a reaction from the Shock Exchange?

  • are you for real?

    Heh, you really think people stop craving money at some point? It’s like a drug, and don’t worry, he has plenty of places/ways to spend it all. Don’t be just mad at me for saying something that doesn’t praise your lord and saviour Kobe.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Nick Tha Quick

    Clearly, the Shock Exchange is of the opinion that only the Black Mamba and NO OTHER PLAYER communicated with Billy Hunter during the lockout urging him to accept the 50/50 split. And because Billy Hunter said that the Black Mamba pressured him to accept the deal, then it truly must be so. If Billy Hunter said that the thought of James Harden’s elite defensive abilities ignite’s fear in opposing SG’s, the Shock Exchange would immediatley accept this as the testament and the truth.

  • ballislife

    What I am saying explicitly, is that it seems like anything that involves kobe you have put forth a negative connotation regardless of the subject or content matter. At least be a little more subtle in your personal hate for someone because it is quite annoying for other objective people who comment. The reaction by the one they shock exchange is just an added incentive. As I perviously stated, it is nothing personal just trying to call you out on your kobe hate.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange can say the same for you. The only time you reach out to the Shock Exchange is on articles involving Horry Jr and you always come to his defense. He guesses that makes you a member of the “Horry Jr Jones” – fan club.

  • ballislife

    Well for the most part I find your analysis to be candid, but at times when involving kobe you are way off base because of your hate for him. Just admit you hate kobe and we can move on. Do not hide behind the veil of ignorance and pretend you do not some personal distain for kobe.

  • DrathRahma

    reminds me of the slam jordan ‘what if?’ when they said that if jordan stayed and said he would not retire if they did not lockout then the lockout would have never happened

  • shockexchange

    Not true. The Shock Exchange clearly said earlier – “In SE’s opinion, by the time Horry Jr called Billy Hunter, he Fisher and several others had already circled the wagons.”

  • shockexchange

    Who is this “Kobe” person you keep referring to?

  • LakeShow

    Sure, who cares though.

  • Saleem Rainman

    There is a certain level of doucheyness needed to refer to URSELF by ur nickname during every day conversation, like “its the black mamba” or “its the king”. smh.

  • thebossman15

    who are you..i was talking to “are you for real”, kobe is my favorite player why is he my lord and savior? lol u kobe haters are funny, you sound like bitter little bitches..speak when spoken too, woman

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange couldn’t agree more.

  • pposse

    if there was no lockout the Bulls would have been champions and Lebron James would have been still searching for that ring.

  • bike

    What actually transpired was when the caller said ‘Black Mamba’ Billy said ‘who?’ and the caller then said ‘This is Kobe Motherf*kin Bryant!!!!’.

  • Cortez Mack

    If Billy Hunter (someone who likely is not hurting for money in the least) fell for an implausible threat then he is a fucking idiot.

    Billy Hunter did not just fall off of a turnip truck and trick someone into giving him the player’s union job. He knows the ins and outs of the extent of player influence with other players.

    Hunter is saying Fisher secretly negotiated a deal behind his back. The very same deal he agreed too! I do not get it. He is saying he did not like the deal and only did it because Bryant pressured him to do it and told him that “he had his back”?

    That means he is admitting to pushing a shitty deal through (that, according to him, he had no prior knowledge of) because he thought Bryant had some influence over him keeping his job? A job that he was CONTRACTED for (meaning he could only be “fired” through some malfeasance or blatant malpractice). I suppose he did just admit to both of those things by explicitly saying he made the deal for a substandard contract in an attempt to save his own ass.

    Like you said, rationally, Hunter’s story makes zero sense.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah man idk, but no matter what, if Bryant did negotiate in any way, or did make that call, (even if it really meant nothing) then either way this is wrong and very bad. it’ll probably get shuffled under the rug, but this just isn’t good.

  • Dfrance

    Its the same level of doucheyness that was required when he GAVE HIMSELF said nickname, so I’m not all that surprised.

  • Dfrance

    There was that video of Bryant losing it because the Lakers didn’t trade Bynum for Jason Kidd. It was Kidd right? Anyway, that was kinda throwing him under the bus right? Idk… lol

  • Cortez Mack

    “Heh, you really think people stop craving money at some point?”

    Some do.

    Here is a prominent example.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2320451/Tom-Shadyac-Ace-Ventura-director-insists-taking-minimum-fee-new-movie.html

  • shockexchange

    Look at you ballislife, you got 2 “upvotes” for trolling the Shock Exchange. You must be shinin’!

  • Harvey

    He didn’t though. He had heard somebody call him it and he thought it was cool; and the nickname was born.

  • Harvey

    “Andrew Bynum?.. Ship his ass out!”

  • LakeShow

    Yeah, kinda haha.

  • are you for real?

    How am I hating him? Did I say something about him being a bad player/person/whatever? The fact that you immediately saw that as a threat just shows how obsessed with him you are.

    And how exactly did you state a more reasonable response? By agreeing with me that he might have done it for money, but then going the other way and becoming really defensive with me about “questioning his intentions”?

  • Ben Ireland

    Agreed. I’ll happily be educated though. Because if Kobe, a susperstar of the highest order at the time, did something to help along negotiations that took forever to get to where we knew like 6 months beforehand it was going, ie 50-50, why is it shady? Maybe it’s just you know… good sense haha?
    Billy Hunter as far as I’m concerned did nothing substantial to help. If anything, this backs up that opinion. And I base that on no in-depth research, but simply following the lockout at the time raptly, and I can’t remember anything he did to “help” at all. Though I remember little, I’ll grant you. It seems he just dug into his ground, and eventually knuckled under, after we missed a chunk of the season.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    There is a lot more to a CBA then how revenue is shared.

    Here, this should catch you up,

    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/33524021

  • Ben Ireland

    Yeah, but the article basically says the owners won on nearly every single point. How does that make Hunter seem useful?
    And it lists Kobe as a winner, because he needs this season as he gets older… He SHOULD have gotten involved. That he did, and expedited the process seems like a good thing to me…

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO GET INVOLVED IN THAT MANNER. It is literally against the agreement made by the players when they hired Billy Hunter.
    .
    And yes, the owners won overwhelmingly, which is why Hunter opposed ending the lockout. But was overruled by the players vote. Which, so happens to include a bunch of guys who know next to nothing about the specifics of the negotiations, or the implications of the rules outlined in them.
    .
    In essence, outside of the court room, Kobe was not legally allowed to speak with ownership or upper management. He was not even allowed to use Lakers facilities. So you can imagine how bad it is to learn he may have negotiated in private.

  • Ben Ireland

    Was Pelinka allowed? Cos it seems like all Kobe did was tell Hunter to talk to Pelinka. I imagine Pelinka’s word has an absurd amount of clout knowing it’s Kobe’s words in his agent’s voice, but there’s no evidence he did anything wrong here IF Pelinka was allowed to. If not, I get where you’re coming from, but it ended the lockout, so it’s hard for me to condemn him, and I imagine most of the public will feel the same. I doubt he receives much negative publicity for this at all, so I understand he broke rules, but I’m unsure why it’s “bad” to you.
    That Hunter wanted to continue the lockout shows an unrealistic grasp of the situation to me. If anything, the owner’s could have squeezed even harder. The player’s had no leverage, and few if any of the owner’s rely on their teams as their sole income. There’s just no way for the players to win. If the owners were offering a deal that was so totally unreasonable as to make the players say F**k off in principle, then the players’ options include starting a new league (unlikely) or playing abroad and waiting out the lockout (feasible but again unlikely). The owner’s had all the leverage, and won completely. BUT although that article states it is always bad if you come out of negotiations saying “could’ve been worse,” I really think that’s the best the players could hope for here.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I’m saying it’s very bad if it’s true because he can actually get in trouble for this. Hunter is a weasel and this is not the type of thing you want a guy like that having against you.

  • Ben Ireland

    I guess… I just don’t see much evidence of wrongdoing on Kobe’s part. I mean, I’m absolutely sure he did, but there’s no evidence haha. I’d say it blows over pretty quick. Can’t wait til Hunter is finished with his case, and then I never have to hear about him again. Tho I’m assuming he’ll never admit it’s over and it’ll drag on for years.

  • juju beez

    The Bulls with Rose aren’t and never were better than the Heat with James. Regular season wins will never mean anything when u cant eek out more than one win in the playoffs against the team u beat 3 times in the regular season. Get over it already.

  • bball knowledge

    Micheal Jordan won 6 titles and 6 finals MVP’s and obviously he was the first option for those titles as opposed to Kobe who played with Shaq who won 3 Finals MVP’s during there 3 peat run and was a second option and later on Kobe beat a Magic team and a Celtics team that lost Perkins to finally get 2 finals MVP’s….dont ever compare MJ to Horry jr.

  • brothasdontsurf

    hahahaha kobe probably went to a payphone in the hood and was slithering the whole call

  • LakeShow

    Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double 1960 through
    1965 (30.3 points, 10.6 assists, 10.4 rebounds)

    In 1961-62 Oscar averaged 11.4 assists
    (first time an NBA player had averaged double figures in assists)
    Rookie of the Year – 1961

    48.5 field goal percentage

    12-time All-Star (Averaged 20 pts, 5 assists, 6 rebounds)

    3-time All-Star MVP – 1961,1964 and 1969

    Regular season MVP – 1964

    Led teams to 10 NBA Playoffs

    1971 World Champion with Milwaukee Bucks

    Hall of Fame – 1979

    You seem to like spouting random facts so I figured I’d give you some.

  • thebossman15

    “a magic team” how did you figure that one out genius?

  • Kobekobe

    why did he know it was Kobe? because he identified himself as the black mamba? or because he was being treated like a dirty whore in the middle of the night in a hotel room?

  • bball knowledge

    Yea the Orlando Magic…

  • bball knowledge

    Dont compare Kobe to MJ…Lebrons closer to MJ anyways at least statistically.

  • guest

    Anecdotal evidence is not evidence. Shayac is a bad a** for how he views the world. He is also an anomaly.

  • Dagger

    So said everyone who’s ever given themselves their own nickname.

  • iGotYoBlkMamba

    Kind of like you?

  • Skilz2kill

    Any perimeter player playing alongside Shaqs MVP year or the one following woul’ve been option 2. And you claim to have B-Ball Knowledge? Maybe at a elementary level.

  • shockexchange

    (Horry Jr voice) “Despite having no help, I led the Lakers to 5 chips. I was like an assassin out there on the court. When I struck, I was cold, calculating, and unfeeling. Sorta like a mamba. The crowd was like, ‘Maaabbbaaa! Maaabbbaaa!’ Thus, the Black Mamba was born.”

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