LeBron goes into past for new agents

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

In this season of high school proms, a word of advice is to remember the old adage, "Dance with the one who brought you."

That's not the dance Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is doing with former agent Aaron Goodwin.

James fired Goodwin last week in favor of some high school buddies. All Goodwin did for James was negotiate about $135 million in endorsement deals for the 20-year-old in the past two years.

Email newsletter signup

James is expected to turn over some of his management duties to close friend Maverick Carter, a former teammate at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School currently employed by Nike. Randy Mihms, who serves as James' personal assistant and road manager, and Rich Paul, another James' confidant, are expected to take on more active roles in his representation.

The longtime friends like to refer to themselves as the ''Four Horsemen.''

It's too bad James was born in this era. If he needed three men to handle his financial deals, I had the perfect trio: The Marx Brothers.

I would love to listen to Groucho, Chico and Harpo negotiating a deal with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on a new contract. James has two years left on his current pact.

But there's no need to wonder what it would have been like for the three funny men to work a deal. I have a good idea how the conversation would have gone, and I'm going to let you listen in:

Gilbert: Gentlemen, may I come into your office and talk? What do you think of the contract proposal I sent over?

Chico: It's a no good.

Gilbert: What's wrong with it?

Chico: Well, it's got a sanity clause in it.

Gilbert: Well, that's pretty standard with all contracts.

Chico: Well, that's a no good. You can't have sanity clause. He works at the North Pole and it's too far of a commute.

Gilbert: I don't think you understand what it means.

Groucho: Listen, all we want to hear from you are those magic words.

Gilbert: You mean "please" and "thank you?"

Groucho: No, $125 million over five years.

Gilbert: Don't you want some of the money in deferred payments? The taxes will eat you alive.

Chico: I have an uncle who lives in taxes.

Gilbert: That's taxes, Chico. You know, like dollars.

Chico: That's a right. He lives in Dollars, Taxes.

(I love the classics.)

Harpo: Honk! Honk!

Gilbert: What did he say?

Groucho: I think it was loud and clear. Well, it certainly was loud.

Gilbert: How can I deal with you men? You don't know how the system works.

Groucho: Are you talking about the digestive system or the circulatory system.

Gilbert: Neither. I'm talking about the negotiating system.

Groucho: I've always found that the knee goes back and forth, and with our client both knees go back and forth very quickly.

Harpo: Honk! Honk!

Gilbert: Now what did he say?

Groucho: He said the next time you pass by, please do.

Gilbert: I give up!

Groucho: I have a give up. Do I hear an uncle?

Gilbert: Uncle. I'll give you the contract you want.

Chico: I thought this agent stuff was supposed to be hard. By the way, what's an agent?

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.