Three Memphis-area attorneys who double as University of Memphis boosters got so angry about John Calipari leaving their basketball program on probation that they last year threatened to sue Calipari, one-and-done star Derrick Rose and athletic director R.C. Johnson on behalf of unnamed season-ticket holders, according to reports late Thursday from The Commercial Appeal's Kyle Veazey and Geoff Calkins.
Nevermind that, according to university counsel Sheri Lipman, the complaint “had all sorts of holes in it." And nevermind that, according to common sense, any lawsuit would've almost certainly been dismissed. Calipari, Rose and Johnson still each opted to settle out of court. Calipari and Rose agreed to pay the attorneys a total of $100,000, and Calipari also agreed to donate the bonus he received for taking Memphis to the title game of the 2008 NCAA Tournament back to the school's Tiger Scholarship Fund. Johnson agreed to return the bonus he received that year, too.
Calipari's donation is estimated at $232,000 while Johnson is expected to repay a little more than $71,000.
So it's a victory for Memphis fans, I guess.
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That must've been fun.
But why did these attorneys think it was wise to threaten to sue the school's most famous alum?
Because that's not wise.
That's just stupid.
Say what you want about Rose, but he's merely a pawn in this game, a product of the system, a kid most believe only played at Memphis because somebody else took his SAT, a kid I believe should've never been essentially forced to play college basketball in the first place. Let's be honest: Rose didn't belong at a university any more than I belong in the NBA, and I mean that in the most respectful of ways. He's a basketball player, plain and simple, and it was pretty clear for years before Rose ever enrolled at Memphis that he'd eventually make millions of dollars slashing to the rim.
And it was very clear in March 2010 when three attorneys threatened to sue him.
So, again, who thought it was wise to do that?
Rose, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, will make hundreds of millions of dollars in his career, and all Memphis had to do to benefit from that was stay on good terms with the Chicago Bulls point guard. Remember how Carmelo Anthony donated $3 million to Syracuse to help build a practice facility named in his honor? It's reasonable to think Rose, whose next contract will likely be worth more than he could ever spend, might've done something similar for Memphis someday. But why would he now? Why would he donate big money to Memphis after Martin Zummach, a past president of the Memphis alumni association, threatened to sue him during his second season in the NBA?
Answer: I have no idea.
So congratulations, Memphis attorneys/boosters.
You made your threats and got some money, and I suppose that's good on some level. But including Rose in all this was silly and shortsighted. Yes, I realize he's now obligated to "consider … making a suitable donation” to the Tiger Scholarship Fund sometime before 2015, according to the agreement he signed. But if I were Rose I'd consider it only for a second, then simply decide I'd rather not.